leslie g stewart

Can your password lift weights?

Have you been following tech news lately? Actually, you don’t have to follow tech news to have heard about all of the high profile hacking attempts (and successes) and disruptions of late.

While I could go on and on about the sites responsible for keeping your information secure, or not, how the sites we use secure our information is out of our hands.

What you can do on your end, is pretty simple: whenever and wherever you have a login account, use good, strong passwords. It should go without saying that every password you use should be a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters/punctuation, whenever possible. While I appreciate the love we have for our partner, child, parent or pet, using their names is a really, really unwise choice. Using any word found in a dictionary in almost any language would be unwise as well.

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Secure your WordPress installations. really.

In the past 4 weeks, several Media Temple clients have been reported having their WordPress installations hacked. The cause of the hacks is inconclusive. Media Temple is blaming their customers for not having secured their WordPress installations. Their customers are blaming Media Temple, especially since this sort of widespread hacking was aimed at Media Temple users last year as well. More info about the recent Media Temple hack and fixes can be found here: http://wordpress.org/support/topic/was-my-site-just-hacked-found-random-script-in-all-pagesposts

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Model releases on the go

This quick tip is for filmmakers, videographers, and photographers who make use of model releases. Even if you have verbal permission to film or photograph someone, it’s a really good idea to have the subject(s) sign a release. Normally, this means keeping printed releases with you. I always keep a bunch in my camera bag, but I don’t always have the bag handy, and sometimes I simply run out.

If you have an iPhone or iPod Touch, you can install the super handy app called mRelease. It will allow you to create, store, and email pdf copies of model, location, property, and crew releases. Your subject can sign the release on your iPhone/iPod Touch (a stylus comes in handy for that). If you’re using an iPhone, you can take a quick photo to embed in their release, which makes identifying people in your footage/photos a snap.

mRelease will set you back $2.99, and it’s nice addition to add to your film/video/photography toolkit to keep things organized.

Image editing without breaking the bank

One of the keys to building websites, is properly preparing images to help pages load as quickly as possible. Generally speaking, programs like Photoshop, Illustrator, and Fireworks are used, but they can be quite spendy, ranging in price from $300 – $1000.

If what you primarily need to do is crop, resize, and compress images for the web, all of those programs can be expensive overkill. You could use programs that come with your computer, like iPhoto on a Mac, or Microsoft Photo Editor on Windows, but there are other, and sometimes much better, options.

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Sometimes, we all need time out

I do my best to maintain regular business hours, but as a self-employed owner of 2 businesses, I have a tendency to work far too much. I spend the majority of most of my days sitting in front of 2 monitors, which is not good for my eyes, body, or brain.

I’ve worked from home for several years, but the same was true back in my on-site freelancing days. Back then, some of my co-workers would take frequent breaks to step outside for a cigarette. They’d get to walk away from their desks for 10 minutes and get some not-so-fresh air. We non-smokers were left sitting in our cubicles. In retrospect, I don’t know why we didn’t just get up and take similar breaks.

Continue reading: Sometimes, we all need time out

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