Category Archives: security

The Ups and Downs of Windows 10

As of yesterday, it has been one month since Windows 10 became the official new release of the Windows operating systems and I have now spent that month having it on both my laptop and my desktop. You’ll remember the previous entries detailed the good and bad of trying to actually install Windows 10 and now that I have, what exactly do I think? Well, I’ll tell you, but first a disclaimer –

As you are a freelancing crowd, I’m sure you’ve already done your homework about Windows 10. This is totally not a review of Windows 10, but a little opinion piece that can hopefully add to the reviews you’ve been reading. With that said, I will say that I’ll be saying things in contradictory form against some of these reviews, so you know – research before you decide to make the plunge!

Let’s make our favorite Stewie Sandwich on this, shall we?

Read the rest of this entry

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How Not to Be…A Technology Victim

Some crazy stuff happened this month in the tech world, crazy stuff. First, after nearly 7 years of threatening, Microsoft managed to actually stop support of Windows XP and there was of course much rejoicing – for those of us that have stopped using XP about seven years ago; next came the horrible, terrible, no good HeartBleed bug came about and put the Internet in a tizzy, as users – personal and professional alike – rushed to make sure their info and logins hadn’t been hacked. And just today, everyone’s favorite browser Internet Explorer showed that it still has room for even more vulnerabilities than we had originally thought. 

If you remember from way back when, I had this little series going on how we freelancers can learn not to be like those crazy companies we work for or use, so once again readers, I bring you another How Not To Be! This isn’t just aimed at my freelancing brethren, but to anyone who owns any type of electronic or technical device. Read the rest of this entry

How NOT to be…Facebook, part II

Facebook logo Español: Logotipo de Facebook Fr...

Mornin’ readers!

So, our last post here on FRR was about Facebook‘s continued foray into making their users not want to use them again. This was in response to the new change that Facebook made during the summer in which they changed their users’ email addresses with that of their very own Facebook email address, whether they wanted it or not.

Not that this was the first time that Facebook as annoyed users, whether it be constantly changing their privacy policies or changing them while erasing previously set up settings that a user had done or the bragging they did about their IPO that didn’t really do so well.

So in this second part, we’ll look at how we as freelancers can avoid doing some of these things that FB insists on doing to the rest of us.

3. Not Caring About Users

As a freelancer, it’s important that you take into account what your client wants. Now, sometimes the client may have some crazy ideas that they want to see done, which is when you should politely request that perhaps that idea is crazy. However, the important thing is always keep their ideas and requests in your head. Not caring about what your client – or users – want can cost you a rep.

4. Making It Impossible for the Client to Change Anything

Here is the big thing with Facebook – every change and implementation they make almost seems purely designed to see how many of their users will actually take the time to change it. Of course, many of the social network’s users actually don’t bother to change things like their privacy settings (which is bad, btw!), however for those who want to make sure that only their friends and families can find them, trying to change anything on Facebook is a hassle and confusing and utterly frustrating.

This might be an issue for those of you who freelance in web design or even programming; if you have designed something that will allow the client to change something – like a web site in which they can log in to access an account – don’t make it so complicated that they aren’t able to do so. In the case of programming, of course there will be sections in which the client shouldn’t have access to, but if it’s something as simple as trying to change their password or even changing the color scheme (if they are able), let it be easy enough for them to do it without them breaking anything.

Facebook isn’t the only big company that’s been making some big mistakes in the last few years. Next, we’ll take a look at how Netflix managed to dig themselves into a hole that nearly buried them, while Sony’s Playstation Network was determined to give out every one of their client’s credit card numbers.

Cloud Test – My Move from SkyDrive to Google Drive, II

Windows Live SkyDrive

Windows Live SkyDrive (Photo credit: 阿國)

So in page one, I stated that I was going complete Google fangirl and moving over to Google Drive from SkyDrive permanently. Being able to easily few what I’ve uploaded, as well as the ability to access on my smartphone (and hopefully eventual tablet) also helped in the decision.

The final nail was hit when dealing in my new job position as office manager for Assisted Transition.

The Professional Side

Let’s start by discussing this aspect in the terms of freelancing. Both services obviously allow you to view and even edit your files from any computer, anywhere. This of course is paramount for a freelancer, because it means we don’t need to be tethered to our home offices or whatever it is you work.

Now, as should happen, you’re working on an article or web design on say your laptop and then plan on tweaking it when you get home to your desktop with its large monitor. Which service do you think will let you continue where you left off? The technical answer is both, however personally I think Google does a better job of it.

Case in point – I have had and lost internet service while using both sites – Google was a bit faster at regaining a connection and saving where I left off. But more importantly, as a hobbied web designer, Drive is the only one here that allows you to view Photoshop files.

Now in a business sense, while yes most companies utilize both Windows and the Microsoft Office suite, not everyone may be on the same version. My boss and I, for example, use two different versions of office. In terms of using Google Drive, another great thing as I can still sync my personal drive while viewing my work one.

There is a downside to that, which I heard Google is working on – obviously, many of us Googlites have more than one Google account. I discovered the other day that you can only have one Drive account on the desktop version, which of course is annoying and trust me, bad things come about when you try having two.

I’m not sure when I became such a fangirl for Google (petition is pending on getting me a Google endorsement), but ultimately when I think about it, it makes sense to be concise in using the suite over the others. As freelancers, does this mean no more work on our computers?

Absolutely not and I push you all to make sure you have backups upon backups to ensure you don’t lose anything of importance (kinda like when I did that dual Drive thing). However, regardless of which one you choose, make sure you make the most of it. And these aren’t the only ones – there’s Dropbox, Sugar Sync, etc.

What about you, loyal reader? Which would or do you prefer – SkyDrive or Google Drive? Let me know with some comments!

Cloud Warming – When the Cloud Becomes Dark

Diagram showing overview of cloud computing in...

Image via Wikipedia

As I get ready for my big move to Virginia, it dawned on me that I would also need to be shipping my desktop, which I’m reluctant to do because…well, I’ve never shipped my fully loaded, everything that I need to live, desktop anywhere before. This got me thinking about using the cloud even more than usual.

I’ve written about how awesome I think the cloud is and in this case, the ability to leave my twenty something pound desktop here in Denver is an advantage. If you’re just starting to freelance, then the cloud is the way to go, especially if you’re running two computers and a smartphone (or tablet or all four).

However, just yesterday I discovered that there are downsides to this.

Listening to the latest (read: the day before) podcast of  Tech New Today, which is part of the This Week in Technology (TWiT) series by the awesome Leo Leparte, I actually found out that both Microsoft’s Sky Drive and Google Docs had outages earlier in the week. Obviously because I use both (Sky Drive/Live Mesh more than Docs), I was a bit surprised to hear about. It happened when I wasn’t working on either apparently, but it still gave me a bit of pause, especially after yesterday’s complete and utter adherence to the cloud for the next seven months.

Much as I love the cloud, there are of course dangers that it faces, one of them being that if the cloud goes down, so does your work.

Now before you panic about not getting your items, as the guest on the show mentioned, it’s not that big of a deal, really. As the hosts mentioned, yes if you’re in the middle of a meeting using Google Docs or you need those docs for a meeting and it’s offline, yeah big problem (which is why Google has now implemented Google Docs offline), but in the overall scheme of things, not so bad.

I of course say this as someone who is tied to the cloud and not. I still have backup copies of stuff on my hard drive (synced with Live Mesh) and of those items, I’ve gone ahead and moved docs that I’m working on (or should be working on) to Docs. Even my music is now in the cloud and I have plans on making digital versions of all CDs and DVDs that I own.

Listen kids, the cloud is great, but as some people forget, it’s not the be all solution to everything. Remember the story about the guy who lost seven years of his life because Google closed his account? I find myself cutting down when I go from around twelve email accounts to four (though at least 5 of those 12 were work related). I’m still gonna have backups (please please backup your stuff!), but getting access quick, easy, and from anywhere is the better deal.

Even if it means it’s down for twenty or forty minutes.

Keeping Your Life Secure

Image representing PayPal as depicted in Crunc...

Image via CrunchBase

Hi readers! Reader. People hopefully still reading.

I know; I’m a horrible blogger and the worse part is, I seriously have been meaning to this blog for weeks now. So I’m not gonna get into a long intro, I’m just gonna jump in.

At the end of July, word got around that Anonymous and LulzSec – you know, those hackers that brought down Sony’s PSN – had a new target in their sights and that target was PayPal. Now like it or love it, it is one of the most popular financial sites online and in the world and if that doesn’t get your attention, it’s a pretty good bet that in your freelancing career, you’re gonna be using it.

I originally saw the article on Twitter, but as soon as I saw it, I was pissed. In case you hadn’t heard about the PlayStation Network fiasco (and where were you that you missed it), last count that I heard was 70 million of PSN players had their personal information compromised and that was just the PSN; weeks later, the hacker group took down other Sony websites and accounts.

I’m sure that by doing this post (weeks later, sorry!) I’m just giving them more attention, but in this case, I think it’s warranted. I don’t think I’ve done any posts in regards to protecting your information while freelancing and for that, dear reader, I beg forgiveness. The reason?

As mentioned, Pay Pal is a huge financial backer when it comes to getting money securely without using your banking information, which for many of us who are freelancing, is a very important aspect. Freelancing, as I’ve mentioned, isn’t your average 9 to 5 job and with that, you shouldn’t expect it to pay out that way. (Note – I will do a post on how to get paid). In most cases, you’re going to get electronic funds (like direct deposit) and have it in your account within moments.

This is why stuff like this is troubling; in the end, I haven’t heard of the groups hitting the site, but it’s still a worry. In fact, I changed my password right after I heard just to be on the safe side. With groups like these and other security issues, how will you, new bright-eyed freelancer, be able to protect yourself?

Simple – be smart and use common sense.

  • Password protect your accounts, with strong passwords that you can remember, but no one else can guess.
  • When out and about, lock your laptop/tablet/smartphone. This just means you need to enter in a password when you return; obviously the better suggestion is to take your equipment with you when you get up for longer than five minutes.
  • Never, ever, ever share accounts or passwords or any information with people you don’t know. And certainly don’t click on mysterious email links; if Facebook is sending you email to an address that is not associated with FB, it’s probably fake.

Later in the week, I’ll discuss how to get paid while freelancing, as well what you can do maybe. Oooh…it’s getting professional up in here!