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Evernote Hacked - emails and user ids stolen

Sean Hambridge - Monday, March 04, 2013
I have long been a supporter of the virtues of Evernote and have been using it for years. It's my default place for just collecting stuff.

Last Saturday Evernote got hacked (it was really more of a case of when it would happen than if it would happen). I was alerted with an email and anyone that knows me knows that I treat ALL emails containing details of impending global disaster if I don't click on a link.

I took my own advice and didn't click the link, I went directly to the Evernote website by typing in http://evernote.com and saw that they had indeed been hacked and that I needed to change my email address, which I did forthwith. My email client software has this great feature where if you hover over a link it reveals the target web address and when I did so with this email it looked extremely suspicious. Which is to say that the address it linked to was not evernote.com it did have the word "Evernote" in the address but it was in the wrong place.

The downside is that these hackers have now got my email address so I'm a bit annoyed about that. It's also a bit embarrassing as I have been extolling Evernote's virtues to all and sundry so now I need to make sure that my clients, associates and friends are all aware of the situation.

So, as I have maintained all along; never, never, never click links that ask for information that should be kept secure, whether it's a bank, email provider, Facebook, Google or any other place where privacy is at stake. Always navigate manually to the site so you know it's the real one and not a trap.

I still trust Evernote to do their best to protect my information and I suspect that the next few weeks are going to be a bit rough for them but this is the world we live in now and we need to be as protective of our on-line information as we are of our physical assets.

Cheers,
Sean

So, you don't have the time to set up your new website

Sean Hambridge - Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Well, we're here to make it easy.

One of the biggest factors in businesses not having a suitable website is the prospect of having to get stuff to put on the site. Or as we like to call it; web content.

We are experts in collecting the right information (copy) and presenting it on your web pages in an attractive and professional format. We can help with images by procuring stock images or organising for a photographer if that's what is required.


Here's how it works:

Steps used to create website content
  1. We meet with you to prepare the site content brief (1-2 hrs)
    • At this briefing you can bring any documents, brochures, product/service information that might be included in the website
    • We essentially map out the site deciding on page hierarchy, menus and possibly a rough layout plan
    • At this stage we can give an estimate of the time it will take to complete the job
  2. Getting the content
    • If there is information to be provided by your staff that needs to be collated we can meet with them and create the copy then and there by writing or recording a conversation or simply picking up pre-existing copy for editing
    • Sometimes the brief calls for information from suppliers or other organisations. As longas you have permission to access this information we can arrange for it to be acquired. We can even retrieve large amounts of data from other websites like product catalogues if required
    • Images are a key component to building content designed to enhance the user experience (UX). We have various sources of stock images that can be purchased from as low as only a few dollars.
  3. Editing and copywriting
    • When writing for the world wide web there are a number of important aspects that your copy should contain; it has to be a good experience for human visitors, it has to be laid out and "tagged" appropriately for visitor understanding as well as for search engines to be able to index the page the way you want it to be indexed (it's no good emphasising the phrase "CLICK HERE" unless of course that is the name of your product)
  4. Optimising each page for search engines
  5. Getting your approval
    • Once the pages have been created and populated we ask for your expert appraisal of our work, after all it has to appeal to your target market.
  6. That's it - we send the site live and begin measuring its effectiveness

If you have a current quote from us it may mention a number of pages setup (content to be provided by client). The service outlined above is adjusted so that services already agreed would not be included. How much: Depends on the number of pages, the amount of new copy we need to create, image availability and less concrete things like following up on information provision. The determining factor in time and cost is and always has been completely up to you, the customer. The diagram below is called a Euler Diagram and this particular one illustrates the project triangle where one can have any two of the combinations of FAST, GOOD and CHEAP.

From Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_triangle 

The Project Triangle is a triangle model of project. It is a graphic aid where the three attributes show on the corners of the triangle to show opposition. It is useful to help with intentionally choosing project biases, or analyzing the goals of your project. The constraints are analogous with the project management triangle - in fact, it may be seen as an Evolutionary pressure.

With the above in mind your budgetary constraints might mean that you have to choose one of the "cheap" options and that is completely valid and reasonable.


Let me explain how the project triangle works in real life (and especially in terms of work done by Web Design Experts).

Euler Diagram - Pick any two
  • The "Low Quality" area does not indicate poor quality, it's important to understand that if you want your project to cost as little as possible and still be delivered in a reasonable timeframe then we will implement standard elements. For example if we quoted an FAQ page we would deliver the standard layout for FAQ without modification. It will be a completely usable "vanilla" implementation. I guess a bit like shopping at ALDI, you can choose from 1 brand of peanut butter and pay $1 or go to a big chain with 10 brands and pay a minimum of $3.
  • "Low Priority" will very rarely be offered to our customers because in our experience projects that we work on "when we get a spare moment" realistically never get worked on.
  • "Pay for Quality" is by far the best guarantee of complete customer satisfaction. These projects get top priority in all areas and are an indicator of the importance our customers place on their online business. 

I hope that this goes some way to explaining how we price projects. As always we strive to provide value in the work we do and I look forward to your feedback.

4 out of 5 indigenous kids in remote communities can't read. HANDS UP WHO CARES?

Sean Hambridge - Friday, November 04, 2011

Hello Reader/s,


Did you know that for every five Indigenous kids living in remote communities, only one will be able to read at the minimum standard?

That's only one in five kids who are gaining one of the most important keys to a satisfying and successful life - the ability to read. This shocking statistic is why I'm taking part in the Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation's Wall of Hands Indigenous Literacy Appeal.

Visit my personal wall of hands by clicking on the link below and please sponsor me to help more kids read:

http://www.wallofhands.com.au/Wall/View/207


Unfortunately, regular schooling isn't always enough for Indigenous children in remote communities. Many have hearing difficulties and for many English is a second language. The ALNF is working with Indigenous communities and schools around Australia to overcome these hurdles. Their specialised programs are making a real difference for hundreds of children.

But they need a hand to reach even more kids.
By sponsoring my wall, you'll be helping the ALNF extend the reach of their award-winning literacy programs. If we reach the appeal target of $300,000 they'll be able to continue current literacy programs in Tennant Creek & Mungkarta and establish programs in two new remote communities. A donation of as little as $5 can help provide reading resources for a child in need.



So please join me in raising a hand for Indigenous literacy, by donating to my wall of hands today.

Thank you for your support.

Website Admin System emails - Customisation

Sean Hambridge - Thursday, August 18, 2011

Something that has been an irritation to many of us has been the inability to customise the email address (from) and the branding on these emails.

Well, now we can!

Adobe Business Catalyst, as part of their progressive updates program have now given us access to these templates. The great thing is that if you are ok with messing about in basic HTML you can do it yourself.

Here’s the process:

  • Log into Admin
  • Under the Admin menu (top right menu) select “Customize System Emails”
  • Modify the following layouts:
    • 3rd Party Workflow
      • Emails Sent to 3rd parties who are registered for a workflow process
    • Workflow Notification
      • Sent to all responsible users once a workflow not requiring approval has been launched
    • Workflow Task
      • Sent to all responsible users once a workflow requiring approval has been launched
    • Workflow Completion
      • Sent to all responsible users once a workflow has been completed
    • Workflow Reminder
      • Sent to all responsible users if there is a workflow requiring approval
    • Workflow Escalation
      • Sent to all escalation users if a workflow has not been approved in time
    • Workflow Rejection
      • Sent to a user if their workflow has been rejected
  • Don’t forget to change the “Email From Address” to one that is from your domain

Alternatively; we can make the required changes in about 20 minutes - just send us your instructions and any logo files and we will do the rest. We’ll charge it via our normal time-sheet process which is invoiced after the end of each month.

Internet Explorer 9 - Site Compatibility

Sean Hambridge - Thursday, August 04, 2011

Well, Microsoft have released Internet Explorer version 9 (and soon 10). It addresses a lot of weaknesses and vulnerabilities as well as providing some support for HTML5 and CSS3 (which is an emerging standard for web development and design). In order to move forwards, sometimes older environments suffer.

We’ve had a few requests for testing and verification of existing websites under IE9 which we would usually handle on an ad-hoc basis.

In order to get as many of our customers tested under the new browser we will allocate 2 hours per customer to testing and updating your website.

If you want to have your site tested and verified to operate properly on IE9 we will carry out the process for $95 + GST as long as we have a minimum of 8 takers. We will still allocate up to 2 hours per site. The only caveat is that if a significant incompatibility is uncovered we may need to carry out additional work (I believe this to be unlikely - I just need to put it out there).

To book in send an email to service@webdesignexperts.com.au with the site (or sites) you want to have verified and we'll be in touch to schedule it in.

Google Advertising Free Trial

Sean Hambridge - Wednesday, August 03, 2011

We have been working hard on keeping up-to-date with all of the latest ideas and ways to make the online part of your business grow.

Last week I spent the day in at Google's Sydney HQ getting up to speed with the latest in Search Engine Marketing (SEM) with a particular emphasis on small to medium business needs.

I have ten $75 Google Adwords vouchers for businesses that have never used Adwords before and would be interested in giving it a go.

If you want to be in, call us on 1300 884 553 to get your voucher code - then...

There are three easy steps to get your ad on Google:

  1. Call 1800 117 538 (Mon - Fri, 9am to 9pm AEST) and speak to a Google Adwords specialist.
  2. Quote your voucher code to your Adwords specialist to redeem your free advertising trial.
  3. Your Google specialist will help you set up your first AdWords campaign and get your advertising off to the right start.

Alternatively, you can go to www.google.com.au/adwords and get started with your free trial on your own OR call us on 1300 884 553 to discuss your options.

To get the services of a Google Adwords Specialist you need to take up this offer and be running ads before 31st August 2011.

An Open Letter to Distribute IT Customers

Jacinta Russell - Wednesday, June 22, 2011
To all Distribute IT Customers who have fallen victim to the latest hacking attack, we are here to help get you back on track.

As a result of the malicious attack Distribute IT’s network is still experiencing severe failures. In taking to a Google Blog after the attack, Distribute It said they believe that it “seems unlikely that any usable data will be salvaged from these platforms”.  

We understand that this has placed many people in a difficult position, so we want to offer you our services. We can offer you an all-in-one hosted platform for your website backed by Adobe systems. 24 hrs* is all it can take to have the basic information for your site back up online.

No design? No worries! We have a number of templates for you to chose from. If you have a design available we will re-write your site from the design. We can even do a search through available web caches to recover part or all of your lost website. You can view a selection of the sites we manage in our portfolio

To take up our offer, contact us on 1300 884 553 and we will spend the time to help you in every way we can.




*this is an estimate only and is dependant on your individual circumstances.

Google and MYOB are giving away 50,000 free websites - or are they

Sean Hambridge - Wednesday, March 02, 2011
Google and MYOB have teamed up to provide 50,000 businesses with a free website.

Due to the large number of small to medium Australian businesses without an online presence Google's SME Business Leader Claire Hatton said; "We want to address this gap by removing common barriers like cost and time to set up a website. We also want to make it easier for Australians to find the information they're looking for online".

But there's still no such thing as a free website - after the first year a $5/month fee will be charged.

MYOB chief Tim Reed said that they will be able to sign up 50,000 businesses this year.

How much does a free website really cost?

The cost needs to be viewed in terms of the marketing value of a no-frills 3 page website.
  • What will prospects and customers think about your business when they see it?
  • Will search engines effectively index your site?
  • Will you have time to keep the information up to date?
  • Is it able to turn prospects into customers?
These are some of the questions a prospective DIY website builder needs to ask. If a website-for-the-sake-of-having-a-website is the only reason for setting one up then it is effectively like placing your corporate philosophy on your bedroom wall - the only people who see it will be the ones you have specifically invited.

By all means have a go, but don't be disappointed if you build it and no-one comes.

Internet Security - When a hacker/phisher calls

Sean Hambridge - Saturday, July 31, 2010


Phisherman's name: "Harry" with a broad non-anglo accent
Purported Company: "Microsoft"


Had an interesting chat today with a family member. He got a phone call from "Harry" telling him that they have been monitoring the internet and have detected a potential security risk regarding their computer and would he like to purchase specialised firewall software for $300 for two years.

20 odd years in the IT and Internet industry set my spider-senses a tingling however for your regular home user this all sounds kind of legit; but is it?

When our "Harry" was told that $300 was way out of the family IT security budget he suggested one year cover for $151. As soon as Harry heard that this was also out of the budget - the line went dead. Fortunately that household was not a viable target.

So, that's the story; here's the moral.

Harry is almost certainly a crook; and this is his game:
  • Phone people (possibly from a stolen list)
  • Get them afraid of the unknown - that big bad internet
  • Offer them a solution to an immediate threat
  • Get money
That could have been the extent of Harry's perfidy but maybe not. If he succeeded with the above he could also:
  • Steal your credit card details
  • Find out more about you - name, address, date-of-birth, email address, who you bank with, who your internet service provider is and more
  • Supply you with the "software" you ordered. This could be a virus or worse, spyware. Spyware does things like scan your hard disk for information and send it out, set up a keylogger program which monitors which keys are pressed so that even secure passwords are recorded in clear text
How do you avoid being "Harry's" next victim?

Unless you can verify who you are speaking to, then don't tell them anything! If you are concerned then ask for their name, company and a phone number you can call them back on (most crooks will bail out at this point). Some will try this on too and will wait for you to call back, don't. Instead call the switchboard of the company that they gave you and see if the number belongs to them and that the person actually works for them. If that checks out then you are reasonably safe.

It's onerous, but worth saving the contents of your bank account. Or you can do what we do (both at the office and home). Say; "Thank you for calling, we have a family/company policy not to accept unsolicited phone calls. This policy is absolute, thank you for your time, I will go now". It's then up to you whether you wait for a reply or just hang up. It's polite, it respects poor soul with the hard job of cold calling and it is definite.

Just remember, information is power and not all internet-age thieves use computers to hack into your life.

Watch this space for an upcoming article on internet security.

The Complete Guide to using iOS 4 for the iPhone

Sean Hambridge - Tuesday, June 22, 2010

iOS 4 for the iPhone


I'm a bit geeky but not geeky enough to want to spend precious minutes finding out how to do something. Apple made me think (not good for a "Don't Make Me Think - Steve Krug" disciple). Indeed when my iTunes on my iMac asked me if I wanted to download the latest iUpdate for my iPhone I have to admit I wasn't particularly iFussed either way; so I said yes...

Hmmm, went in for a quick look at what the fuss was about this iOS 4. The picture thing was nice and a nifty new swishy swirly animation. The thing that most interested me was multitasking, so I booted up an application at random - so far not much thought. I hit the home button; app seemed to close - brain still idling. Expended a few seconds of processing power and intuited the double-click on the home button. Waddaya know! Some apps in a secondary task bar. Thought, very cool!

Got about 3 apps running and decided that I wanted to shut some of them down to keep processor and memory free (hold-over from the PC days). Hmmm, no quit, stop, end buttons; what to do?

Answer: Research.

Looked in the Apple website and got lots of superlatives about how the world was changing... again. Great action shots of the latest iThings. No manual, no instructions. I tried doing a site search on iOS 4 and got an error (maybe everyone was doing the same thing).

Neural Oscillations rapidly rising. Why can't I do this simple function, surely I need to be able to stop processes. So in frustration I hit Google with a specific search "iOS4" and proceeded to follow the first link on the page.

Now, with thanks to "a" from Gizmodo who posted "The Complete Guide to Using iOS 4".

I know that I don't need to stop apps but that I can if I want to. She or He also provided a number of tips that I will read at my leisure so that I don't have to get a PhD in iOlogy. And, yes, it is still intuitive - my problem was past experience making a problem where there was none. I still remember MacOS and Windows v1.

So there. Read the article at http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2010/06/the-complete-guide-to-using-ios-4/ and save some valuable time.

If you discover any additional resources please post them in the comments section.

Have fun.