wordpress robber

Protect your blog against bad people.

If you’ve ever fallen victim to a WordPress hacker, you are familiar with the rage pulsating through your veins as you reassemble your digital things. If you haven’t, your future self will thank you for taking the necessary precautions needed to prevent this from happening to you.

Default to Strength

The first thing you need to consider is the way you choose username and passwords. Do not use “admin” for your username or your password. This is default and hackers count on it. Ensure your password is unique and strong. Choose a username that is not your e-mail address. As much as it’s a pain to create new information, this is the weakest point of unauthorized entry and it’s worth the creativity.

Injection Protection

WordPress uses the prefix “wp_” as the naming convention for all the database table prefixes. By leaving this information as default you allow malicious automated scripts to inject your database with gross stuff. When you’re installing WordPress, have a look in your wp-config file for

$table_prefix = ‘wp_’;

and change

“wp_”

to something unique.

Block Access

Put up another roadblock by password protecting your admin folder. You may consider this overkill but believe me, you are better safe than sorry, especially if you are being counted on to protect client sites. In your hosting panel or htaccess file, set-up folder protection and use a different username and password than your WordPress login info. You now have two locks on the door.

Plug-in Power

In addition to keeping all your plug-ins up to date, there is a trusty plug-in called WP Security Scan that will scan your install and recommend ways to tighten things up. It will help you hide your version of WordPress and take away any clues from your sites Metadata so that nosy people won’t be even be able to pick up a CMS scent.

Keep your back up

Alas, if it can be built, it can be hacked. Always ensure you have a back-up and a plan for dealing with emergencies so you can get back up and running as quickly as possible.

There is too much to know about checking out digital material from the Calgary library system to do it quickly, easily and without frustration. This is unfortunate but it’s a free, publicly funded resource and I’ve learned that we can’t be too critical.

Here’s a quick tutorial on checking out and downloading an audio book. Reading this will save you several hours!

Step 1

Download the Overdrive media Console app on your phone
This application is free on the app store and connects to your library account. It’s used to download, manage and play any media you choose to check-out. Once you download the app, add the Calgary Public Library to your list of libraries. It should be noted that you cannot use media from the library in any other way – just through Overdrive.

During use of this application you will find that it often displays chapter information erroneously, for example, you’ll often encounter books with multiple chapters 2s or 3s. It can also not be counted on to properly display the length of a chapter you are listening to. You may never learn to truly love Overdrive. I’m sorry in advance.

Step 2

Login to the Library website on your phone and open the website on your computer
Despite the fact that you will be checking out the media on your mobile device, finding the book you want to listen to is best done on a larger screen with a keyboard and mouse. But, before you do anything, make sure you are logged in on your phone. This will save time later in this process.

Step 3

Search Wisely
The Library website has some misleading navigation options. Don’t click on “e-library” this takes you to a list of some online resources that do not include downloadable items. Also, don’t use the regular catalogue to search for audio books – it returns results that are too varied. Instead, click here. This takes you to the advanced search tool for the good stuff. This section of the website is more difficult to find and doesn’t share the same navigational menu as the other parts of the website. Bookmark it.

I often find that the books I am interested in are not available because they are checked out. With this being the case, you have to decide whether you want to listen to a book now or later. If you want a book now, check the box “Only show titles with copies available”. If you want a book later or are just browsing for something to put on hold, leave this box un-checked.

Step 4

Find the Right Type of Audio
Overdrive Media Console for the iphone will only allow you to play MP3 audio books for sure. WMV files – maybe, maybe not*. These are the two types of audio books the library offers. As of February 2012, the library has a selection of 3,072 MP3 audio books. You can browse all compatible books by selecting “Overdrive MP3 audiobook” from the format dropdown menu and press “search”. Alternatively, you can add the title or author of the book you are looking for into the corresponding search fields and search for MP3 books this way too. You will know you have found a compatible book by the icons that are displayed in the search results. If the MP3 icon is bright, you can use it on your iphone.

* Confusion surrounds the topic of compatible audio files. It seems like if you have a windows formatted iphone you may be able to play MWV files. If you have a mac formatted iphone you cannot. You may want to experiment with this.

Step 5

Send the Link to Yourself
When you have finished your book research, copy the URL of the book you want to listen to and send it to an e-mail account you have access to on your iphone. Open the message on your phone, click the link and this will take you to the item in Safari. Because you are already logged in just click on “add to cart” and complete the check-out procedure. Done!

Enjoy your audio book! Any other tips or tricks about using the Library website or Overdrive, add ‘em in the comments.

Your business card. The most commonly used communication tool in your arsenal of promotional weapons? Your only chance to make a great first impression? Perhaps! However, if your only goal is to create maximum impact with a small space, you’re approaching this the wrong way. Save maximum impact for your next sales presentation, the business card design is all about simple professionalism and saying more with less.

So how do I design a nice business card you ask? Excellent question, let’s get started.

Make the Logo… Better

Resist the common urge to make the logo as big you as can. Keep it as the main visual element but don’t over do it. You will never improve your brand through physical size alone. It should be the only graphic element on your card and people won’t have problems seeing it at reasonable size. By denying this urge, you’ll be preserving your professional dignity and subtly displaying your marketing prowess.

In addition to paying close attention to sizing, ensure your logo displays clearly without any sign of stretching, pixelation, blurriness, or other factors that detract from a pristine appearance. Don’t substitute your logo with clip art, especially if it’s a real photo.

To get off on the right foot, use the right file format. If your logo was professionally designed and you are using a layout software program like InDesign or Publisher, always use an EPS file for your logo. If you are working in a Microsoft Word template, try asking your graphic designer to create your logo in a file format called WMF.

Moo.com is a great option too. They have tons of great looking templates and easy to use tools, but to get a good result, you’ll need to use an EPS file.

If you’ve exhausted your options and your logo remains blurry. It’s time to throw in the towel and hire a graphic designer.

Text Sells

Please choose your fonts wisely. Instead of getting creative with Comic Sans or Papyrus, keep your wits about you and a font from respectable family. If you are worried about choosing wisely, first try matching with a font that might be in your logo. If that font seems professional to you, and it should be if your logo uses it, stick to what you know.

If you can’t rely on your logo for guidance, Quicksand, Open Sans, and Museo, are all great free sans-serif choices. Or, if you need something more serious, why not try Afta, Calluna, or EB Garamond.

Remember, just use one font. Two fonts makes the quiet suggestion that you are trying too hard, more than two fonts screams un-professionalism. Keep your text small but not too small. 8 point type is usually perfect. Any larger and you are asking for a cluttered look that may cause people to be see right through your DIY handiwork.

Example of a bad business card

Example of a nice business card

Stack, Space, and Spare the details

Organization is key to a nice business card. Balanced information that lives in harmony with your logo and a good amount of white space, especially around the edges of the card, is the perfect recipe for success. Keep the details simple. Phone, e-mail, website, name and title are common components. Long URLs to your many social media profiles are not necessary. Unless you can make a printed Facebook icon clickable, leave it off.

Your marketing efforts should flow smoothly from your card to your website to a transaction. Leave people a trail to follow and provide pertinent information along the way. Your business card is a simple welcome mat to your business.

The less information you include, the more room for valuable white space that will help attract attention to your logo, make your information easier to read, and make the jump from home-made and visual excellence.

Proper Printing

The finishing touch is the paper you choose to print on. Avoid at home printing kits – nothing says cheap junk like perforated edges. Instead, drop by your neighbourhood print shop (this one’s in Texas) or an online printing service with your finished design and choose or a nice, thick stock. Don’t settle for something flimsy. The money you spend on quality printing will come back to you in profits once you start impressing people with your nice business cards.

Follow these simple guidelines and you’ll be in business in no time! If I’ve missed anything, let me know in the comments.