All posts by emily sparkle

Placeholder Images

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When developing content, you often want to make space for an image in your page before the image is actually available. This tool allows you to create placeholder images at any size just by pasting the following into your text editor tab and adjust the numbers accordingly.

<img src="http://placehold.it/350x150">

creates this:

http://placehold.it/

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Keep your browser clear of annoying ads!

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Advertising has it’s place online, but there is definitely benefit to blocking advertisements in your browser.  Put simply, productivity can increase because digital distractions are decreased. This is of great use to the small business person.

There are plenty of adblockers out there, the most popular of which is AdBlockPlus.

If you don’t want to purchase an ad blocker and are a DIY type, you can edit the host file on your computer to block content from known advertisers.

Excellent instructions are kept up up to date and you can sign up to be alerted by email from MVPS Host News when a new version is posted.

More info @ http://winhelp2002.mvps.org/hosts.htm

Also, if you’re on a Mac, I suggest using TextWrangler.

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A nice way to deal with password security requirements

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I first posted this article to facebook in the summer of 2014. A client’s email had been hacked and she was frustrated with having to change her password again. Password management can be tricky. To assist I began setting her passwords with a combination of encouraging words and symbols like <3 that often satisfy the ‘letters numbers and symbols’ requirements for today’s strong passwords.

https://medium.com/@manicho/how-a-password-changed-my-life-7af5d5f28038#.9aoukoy5z

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Why I like LastPass for credential sharing

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“So many passwords, so many requirements. Capital letter, numbers, no spaces, something random so it can’t be cracked, but something memorable so you don’t have to write it down… Aww snap! it can’t be one already used! Why do they make this so hard? Who really wants my passwords anyway?”

Pretty much for the simple reason that your passwords are valuable. Phishers and hackers want to access whatever accounts of yours they can take gain from…. bank accounts and online purchase passwords can be compromised to run up your bills and deplete your resources. Email accounts are opened and sorted through for passwords, compromising or private photographs, credit card numbers, etc. Anything that can be sold. Even your private address book will be taken apart and sold for direct marketing parts: emails to spammers, phone numbers to insidious call centers, etc.

If you have a website, they might like to use your public face to promote their business via your url. They can do this by altering your website directly if they get password access to your ftp, control panel (c-panel) or content management system passwords (WordPress, Drupal, Joomla). They can make it so visitors to your site pick up and propagate nasty bits of  code to further the benefit of their cause. And… they have lots of ways of doing this, and are changing tactics all the time.

Hint: “I have 3-4 passwords that I use for all of my accounts.” Is not a good example of good password management.

Good password management is hard. There are many tools available to help you manage your passwords. The one I’ve come to like is LastPass.com. I recommend my clients use it and offer this video to explain their services:

Having all of my passwords accessible from any browser anywhere has come in handy multiple times. I’ve even been able to ‘come to the rescue’ for clients with lost passwords while on vacation. Since I maintain password sets for my client projects my sanity has been saved on numerous accounts. It can be used to broadcast password changes across project groups. If you’re going to use LastPass, make sure you do not use the master password you set up for ANY other password but… make it memorable. Instead of using a Strong Password Generator to assign a random password, make sure it’s something you will remember without writing down.

There is of course the cold reality that any service or software can be subject to attack. Passwords can be guessed, keyloggers sit in coffeeshops waiting for you to log into your PayPal account. If you don’t think LastPass will work fo your,  do come up with your own system that works, employing encryption keys, browser tools or simple effective pneumonic devices. A ol’ fashioned  notebook or rolodex system might work best for you, but all systems have limitations.

Recently LastPass announced that they’re now supporting all devices for free. It was one of the few paid iphone apps I have ever purchased. It was worth every penny and still is.

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Why I like to use Dropbox for website artifact sharing

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Have you heard of Dropbox? It’s the data exchange and backup security blanket I like to snuggle up with when starting a new project. I use it to distribute standard documents like quote sheets and project worksheets as well as store offsite copies of important data like website backups. Clients can easily share digital artifacts (photos, media, documents) through their web browser or smartphone. The drag and drop interface and familiar file tree system makes it very simple to manage items for our projects.

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Time Management Software with Screenshots | Time Doctor

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wanted to give a shout out to the tool that has made wrangling my time tracking and invoicing across about a dozen active clients all with multiple projects running. tho i’m a solo user, it’s designed for large teams with remote workers in mind. it will even track how much time is spent on reddit and facebook. :’P

time-doc

if you follow this link and sign up, i think they give me a nicey nice. their support is awesome and they’ve implemented a lot of things i offered feedback on when getting it set up on my machines.

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