5 super easy tips for better online security on Safer Internet Day Wednesday, Apr 29 2015 

Safer Internet Day is Every February 10, the occasion is meant to be a reminder — particularly to young people — of the perils of the Internet.

internet-security

The hope is to encourage more responsibility when we use the Internet and mobile technology. That can mean a lot of things and can be as simple as being more respectful online.

But it’s also a reminder to better protect yourself and your personal information. Google, for example, is using the day to remind people about the importance of online security. Coincidentally, the U.S. government happened to announce a new government agency completely dedicated to combating cyberthreats on Tuesday.

SEE ALSO: 11 free tools to protect your online activity from surveillance

Of course, it’s always a good time to remind people that it’s easier and perhaps more common than ever before to fall victim to online attackers and cybersecurity risks. Every person should be taking measures to stay safer online. Before your eyes glaze, we have some very easy things that anyone can do to protect themselves online.

1. Use two-factor authentication

With two-factor authentication, users have to provide, in addition to a typical password, a one-time code when using a log-in service. In most cases, the code is sent to your phone — in a text message, for example. So after entering your password, you then have to put in what’s basically a one-time second password.

Based on your preferences, two-factor authentication can occur every time you log in to something or only occasionally, like when logging into an account on a new device.

Many major websites offer two-factor confirmations. Google was among the first. But now a bevy of them — including Apple’s iCloud, Dropbox, Microsoft, Twitter and Facebook — offer some form of login approval.

It might seem simple, but just a smidgen of time can almost double password security.

2. Update your browser and devices!

Browsers, operating systems and mobile devices often need updates. Sure, this can be a pain, but it’s important. Many times, updates are intended to patch just-now-discovered security problems.

Researchers are constantly finding new security holes that cyberattackers can exploit. So if an update notice comes through, never hesitate. It could be the difference between losing 15 minutes of your time and a hacker gaining control of your computer.

3. Use unique passwords and a password manager
People are really bad at making strong passwords. In 2014, the most common leaked passwords were “123456” and “password.” It’s also typical for people to include their birth year (especially those born between 1989 and 1992) in their passwords.

Hackers are up to your tricks. For each login, each website, each service, you should be using unique passwords that have nothing to do with a dead pet or your birthday. “But how do I remember all these passwords?” you might be asking. Well, you don’t have to.

There are a number of good password management services, such as LastPass or 1Password, that can generate and store login information in a virtual vault. Some even offer security-checking features that will let you know if you have duplicate or weak passwords.

4. Get a Google security checkup
Google is offering Drive users an extra 2GB of storage space if they take part in its Security Checkup program by Feb. 17. It takes a few minutes to run some quick tests on your Google accounts. To get started, click here.

The feature offers an overview of your recent sign-in activity (to see if any unusual devices are logging into your accounts). With the checkup, users can also grant and revoke account permissions on their devices, as well as add recovery information — such as a phone number — to help Google get in touch if something is up with your accounts.

5. Use HTTPS whenever you can
HTTPS is the secure version of hypertext transfer protocol — the letters that come before the “www.” in a web address. That last “S” can provide a big difference, however. HTTPS works to bidirectionally encrypt information sent between you and a website’s servers.

It isn’t perfect. HTTPS will not protect you from, say, government surveillance, but it can be surprisingly sophisticated in its protections. BMW, for example, failed to use HTTPS when transmitting data via its ConnectedDrive car system. That made the car vulnerable to remote hackers, who could have exploited that oversight to open car doors.

Most major websites are compatible with HTTPS, but it is best to be cognizant of the web addresses you’re using. There are tools, too, such as HTTPS Everywhere browser extension, that works to automatically switch any HTTP address over to HTTPS.

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What Is The ROI Of Social Media? Thursday, Dec 4 2014 

social-media-roi

There is little doubt of the value of social media. You can gain a lot of readers and expand your brand. All of these efforts take a lot of time, so how do you know that what you’re getting back from your efforts is worth your time? What is your return on investment? Does its gain outweigh its cost? How valuable are social media shares?

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The 5-Second Secret to Less Awkward Online Meetings Tuesday, Nov 18 2014 

A re-post from:
Overcoming one of the biggest issues plaguing virtual get togethers is as simple as counting to five, according to one expert.
 In theory online meetings are great. They save on expensive and time-consuming travel and hold out the tantalizing promise of location independence. The only problem? In practice they can be excruciatingly awkward.

Talking to you computer screen offers none of the helpful feedback of looking out on an audience for speakers and none of the visual stimulation of watching someone up on stage for listeners. And the experience is almost worse if you try to make things interactive as a lack of visual cues means people either talk over each other or hold back out of uncertainty, leaving gaping chasms of silence.

So is the only solution getting in a car or on a plane? Sometimes. But according to online meetings expert Wayne Turmel there’s at least one simple trick that can radically improve your online meetings with essentially no effort.

One Mississippi….

On Management Issues recently Turmel, who has written books on better web meetings and coaches teams on how to improve theirs, asserts that he constantly runs into the same issue when troubleshooting for clients. “They often bemoan thelack of engagement and responsiveness from meeting or class participants,” he reports. Fixing this issue, according to Turmel is as simple as counting to five.

Leaders of online meetings often fear silent lulls excessively, according to Turmel. The inherent awkwardness of not being face to face makes normal pauses where others are absorbing information and formulating their thoughts feel like an age. Plus, potential question askers, for instance, may be simply waiting to see if someone else chimes in first. The result is speakers who barely pause and inadvertently squelch opportunities for interactive exchange.

Luckily, the solution is dead simple. Just “ask for questions or comments and wait five full seconds. It’s longer than you think, and your instinct will be to move things along. Don’t submit to the panic,” instructs Turmel. “Ask, ‘What questions do you have?’ and then silently count ‘one Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi, four Mississippi, five Mississippi’… Only then will you have given people a real chance to process the information, form a response, and step up to speak.”

“I have seen this simple technique radically change the dynamic in meetings,” he concludes.

Could it have similarly great effects for your online interactions? Give it a test and tell us how it goes.

2 New Tricks for Hiring Tech Talent Thursday, Nov 13 2014 

There’s a war for tech talent. Here’s how you can get creative about finding and training coding ninjas.

Jessica Stillman

BY   @ENTRYLEVELREBEL

Talk to any entrepreneur looking to hire technical talent and they’ll tell you its insanely tough out there, with companies facing a dire shortage of trained engineering and design talent.

Sure, you could always steal the competition’s talent, or look abroad for salvation. But both approaches have obvious costs. So as we’ve reported here before some businesses are trying a third way: growing their own tech talent through apprentice style programs.

Video gaming-focused media company IGN, for instance, is augmenting its traditional recruiting for the second year in a row with a “no resumes allowed” alternative. Their Code-Foo program selects participants by setting hopefuls up with online coding challenges and asking for a statement of passion about the company. Those that succeed aren’t asked to produce diplomas and sit for endless interviews. Instead, IGN brings them to a six-week training boot camp. If an individual impresses, he or she gets a job—without ever having to say a word about their work history or educational background.

So how did that work out last year? “We ended up with 30 people,” Roy Bahat, the president of IGN, told Inc.com. “Our guys thought we were going to hire one or two—a third of them didn’t even go to college, a third had non-technical degrees. These were not the people you would have even interviewed on the basis of their resumes. And then lo and behold, a third of them were meeting our bar and the best of them were running laps around much more ‘qualified’ candidates. We were thrilled.” Ten were hired and Bahat says, “on average they’ve worked out better than hires from a traditional hiring process. The best few are among our highest potential talent.”

thumbsup

Code-Foo and other training schemes outside of the academy aren’t just a good bet for smaller companies looking to recruit, but also something Bahat sees as having larger social benefits. “One of my personal passions is teaching young people coding skills because I think that it is the fastest path towards not just economically rewarding work but creatively rewarding work. It’s not as hard as people make it out to be—it’s like being an auto mechanic of the 21st century,” he said. IGN is accepting applications for Code Foo until April 30.

Meanwhile, online marketplace Etsy isn’t just trying to nurture tech talent in general, but female tech talent in particular. The Los Angeles Times reports that the Marc Hedlund, Etsy’s vice president of engineering, noticed that in his career he’s hired men by the hundreds but only a handful of women. To even out the gender balance, the company is hosting the summer 2012 session of Hacker School at its New York City headquarters and offering women who want to participate $5,000 grants to help them support themselves while they learn to be code ninjas.

“Our goal is to bring 20 women to New York to participate, and we hope this will be the first of many steps to encourage more women into engineering at Etsy and across the industry,” Hedlund commented. Which is a good thing, as so far only one woman has participated in Hacker School since its founding last year.

5 things I learned from one of Portland’s most bustling startups Monday, Nov 3 2014 

Re-post from Staff Reporter-Portland Business JournalEmail  |  Twitter

http://www.bizjournals.com/portland/blog/2014/10/5-things-i-learned-from-one-of-portlands-most.html?ana=twt&page=all

Treehouse learning mission control, providing you with an overview of your current progress and total points earned at Treehouse.       https://teamtreehouse.com

Treehouse co-founder and CEO Ryan Carson spoke at the PDXedtech meetupTuesday night, and while we are pretty familiar with what the company is doing — particularly with its efforts with Code Oregon— there were still interesting takeaways.

The company is up to 75 employees, 20 of them are in its headquarters in northeast Portland, and it’s serving 91,000 students. Also, the company is profitable.

Treehouse sees itself as an online trade school. That means the company’s mission is to get students jobs.

heo-2014-t600treehouse-ryan-carson-1000-304xx400-600-62-0

Students are typically between 20 and 40 years old. Many are underemployed and view the Treehouse training as steps to a better job.

Carson highlighted a recent student who went from working retail in Portland to landing a job at the startup OpenSesame.

Here’s are some more pieces of knowledge that Carson dropped:

  1. Treehouse launched a beta program that aims to guarantee job placement for students who are deemed by the company to be job ready. Treehouse Careers has an online application where the company gets to know more a student and what kind of job they want. The student is then served with a dashboard with a to-do to put them on track for the job they want. Part of this process includes some written components, so Treehouse recruiting staff can determine a student’s communication abilities. There is also a project component to gauge how well a student works on a team. If everything is met and the student is deemed job ready, the company will work to place them in a job
  2. The company made headlines last year when it announced that it was removing managers from its organizational structure. There are the top level executives and then everyone else, Carson said. The move came when the company employed 50 people (it now employs 75), and it required a new way to communicate. “It was total chaos,” Carson said of the time immediately following the move. The current communications tools, mainly email didn’t work. So the company built an internal tool called Canopy, which operates like a public Gmail account that everyone can see and contribute. That way information isn’t siloed into any one person’s inbox. For its more private conversations, the team uses the messaging tool HipChat.
  3. Treehouse is closed on Fridays. The team works four, eight-hour days and all the work is able to get done. Carson said this can happen because the company has a culture of non-interruption. Conversations happen on HipChat and people can stay focused on what they do. He noted this tends to mean they have a pretty quiet office.
  4. For now the four-day work week and the no-manager policy works for the company, but Carson acknowledged that it might be that way forever.
  5. Luck has played a role in Treehouse’s development so far. Carson noted that he unknowingly built really strong network and became the center of a community of technologists with an earlier company. That company did code training workshops around the country and it was early on in the Web 2.0 movement, he noted at that point you could actually email Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and he would email back. Based on this community he was a part of, when it came time for Treehouse to raise money, he had the right contacts.

4 web design trends for 2015 that will change your job forever Wednesday, Oct 29 2014 

Our day-to-day jobs are soon going to be very different, predicts Paul Boag.

Paul Boag

As web professionals we often look at other industries with disbelief at their failure to adapt to digital. The downfall of music retailing, the demise of companies like Kodak and the challenges faced by newspapers.

But are we aware of the changes happening in our own sector? The web is now over 25 years old. Are we beginning to get set in our ways? Are we just as blind to changes as other industries?

I am aware I maybe sounding melodramatic and I don’t mean to be. We are not about to see our roles disappear. We may not see many travel agents or encyclopaedia salesmen around these days because of digital. But that doesn’t mean we are in immediate danger.

That said, there are certain trends that are worthy of our attention. These are trends that might not make us obsolete, but they will change what we do from day-to-day.

The four trends I’m talking about are:

  • The move towards in-house teams
  • The automation of code
  • The rise of software as a service
  • The decline of the website

01. The move towards in-house teams

The way businesses perceive the web has changed a lot in recent years. Once seen as another marketing channel, it is now perceived as business critical for a lot of organisations.

Many companies have decided it is unwise to rely on an outside suppliers for business critical operations. Instead they are building internal teams to take on the role. This is strategically wise, but also provides significant cost savings over the longer term.

We are beginning to see this impact our sector as agencies compete for a shrinking number of opportunities at the top end of the market. Some agencies such as Adaptive Path and Mark Boulton Design have sold to their clients. Effectively they have become in-house teams. Others are being forced to downsize.

Of course no in-house team is going to have every skill they need to operate. There will still be work for the specialist. But, whether specialist agencies are sustainable is hard to tell. Instead we might see the growth of specialist contractors who work on short term contracts with in-house teams.

This means that those of us working in high-end agencies need to think about our long term position. The chances are we will see a growing number of agencies close their doors over the coming years. Those of us who work for those agencies may well find ourselves joining in-house teams. That or becoming much more specialised in our role.

But it is not just those working at the top end of the market who will experience change.

02. The rise of software as a service

The rise of software as a service is threatening the lower end of all kinds of sectors. For example, services like FreeAgent are replacing traditional book keepers. In fact SaaS is eroding traditional models in everything from recruitment to customer management.

Unfortunately for some, web design is no exception. There was a time when self employed web designers could produce cheap websites from home and make a reasonable income. Today that is becoming hard with services like Squarespace allowing people to build their own website.

But this doesn’t just apply to ‘build your own website’ services. It would now be insanity to build a custom content management system in the vast majority of cases. Once this was big business for many developers. The same is true for ecommerce platforms. Services like Shopify means the days of building shopping carts for most are over.

What this does is push those low end web designers up market at exactly the same time as the high end agencies are lowering their prices. This squeezes the middle.

Software as a service is commoditising much of what use to be bespoke work. But even bespoke design is becoming easier than ever before.

03. The automation of coding

There was a time when being able to code good quality HTML and CSS was enough. That is no longer the case. Not only is there a surplus of people able to do this, the need to code is waning.

Tools like Macaw and Adobe Reflow are enabling designers to do much of the work of front-end coders. Now I know what you are thinking — these tools create terrible CSS. You are right, but they are a sign of things to come. Over time these tools will become more sophisticated. It wouldn’t surprise me if eventually hand coding HTML and CSS becomes a skill few still need.

Although these tools will never produce code as good as a person, it will be good enough. In the end it will come down to return on investment. For many ‘quick to market code’ that is ‘good enough’ will be a better investment than hand-coded.

But even if that does not happen, these tools are already having an impact. Creating working prototypes has become much easier. A job that used to keep a front end coder busy for days if not weeks.

It’s easy to dismiss the impact of these tools. They don’t replace a good coder. But, I remember graphic designers saying the same thing about desktop publishing. DTP didn’t replace the graphic designer but it did thin the herd.

If you are a designer, you might be feeling a little smug at this point. After all we will always need people to design websites no matter how we code our sites. But perhaps longer term even that will change.

04. The decline of the website

Have you noticed the gradual decline in the role of the website? Take for example going to see a movie. You know what you want to see, but you don’t know where it is showing.

In the past you would have visited each movie theatre website one at a time to see if they were showing the film you wanted. Each website was different, crafted by a busy team of web designers.

My betting is that is not how you look up movies anymore. The chances are you have a single app on your mobile that aggregates movie listings from many sources. Perhaps you even ask Siri or just Google it.

siri1

This creates a much better experience as users don’t have to deal with different interfaces. Unfortunately it does start to undermine the role of the designer crafting these different sites.

I am sure it won’t be long before you ask Siri and she tells you when and where your film is on. The whole thing done by voice command, no user interface at all.

Content is being set free from design. Instead we are sharing content via APIs between applications and sites. Sometimes business owners are choosing to put their content on Facebook, Yelp or Foursquare. They are abandoning the idea of having their own site. This is something that is particularly prevalent in China.

Don’t panic!

This might leave you feeling despondent about your future prospects. It shouldn’t. As somebody who has worked in the web over 20 years, I can tell you that as long as you are able to adapt then none of this will be an issue. Sure, your role will change but you won’t find yourself homeless.

The danger is that the transition could prove painful if you are not aware that change is coming. Whether I am right in my predictions or not you can be sure of one thing — the web will continue to evolve. As Charles Darwin said: “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”

Words: Paul Boag

Co-Founder of Headscape and host of the Boagworld Podcast, Paul Boag has spent more than 20 years of helping organisations manage digital change.

7 Daily Promises That Create Sales Success Wednesday, Oct 29 2014 

BY GEOFFREY JAMES  @SALES_SOURCE

Success in sales, life, and business depends upon your ability to cultivate and grow these seven key emotions.

 If you have the world’s best sales process, technology, worksheets, playbooks, sales scripts, and marketing collateral, you will still fail if you don’t have the emotional strength it takes to sell.

A while back, I had a conversation with Jeff Keller, author of the bestseller Attitude Is Everything. He described the seven emotions that top salespeople must cultivate, which I’ve presented here as a set of daily promises:

  1. I will be patient.

Customers make decisions at their own speed. Pushing customers to buy is like pulling on seedlings to make them grow. While I am always ready to help a customer, I refuse to become frustrated when they don’t buy as quickly as I’d like.

  1. I will be committed.

Customers respect that I’m willing to do whatever it takes (legally and ethically) to make both my customers and myself successful. I will follow through on every commitment I make, large or small. I will not give up until it’s clear that I cannot help my customer.

  1. I will be enthusiastic.

Because enthusiasm is contagious, I will be enthusiastic about myself, my firm, my product, and my customers. To remain enthusiastic I will draw on my desire to help people improve their lives and thereby create greater wealth and success for everyone.

  1. I will be curious.

Selling means being alive to the mysteries and puzzles of life. Every customer and every situation is different and has something important to teach me. I will keep my ears and eyes open to any knowledge that can help me better serve my customers.

  1. I will be brave.

I will have the courage take the risks necessary to expand myself and my business, even in the face of enormous odds. I will not sacrifice my ambition to achieve a false sense of security. I will not take the easy path when I know that the thorny path will take me to my goal.

  1. I will be forthright.

I will not have a hidden agenda that separates my stated purpose from my true motivations. I will be honest with my customers and colleagues, even when it’s to my disadvantage. I will never use manipulative tactics to trick customers into buying.

  1. I will be flexible.

Life is all about change; nothing stays the same. I will be flexible so that I can observe what’s working and what’s not. I will change my approach to match changing circumstances. I will adapt so that I can better meet my customer’s need.

james-updated_34970

Geoffrey James, a contributing editor for Inc.com, is an author, speaker, and award-winning blogger. Originally a system architect, brand manager, and industry analyst inside two Fortune 100 companies, he’s interviewed over a thousand successful executives, managers, entrepreneurs, and gurus to discover how business really works. His most recent book is “Business Without the Bullsh*t: 49 Secrets and Shortcuts that You Need to Know.”

@Sales_Source

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How to Stay Focused in the Most Boring Work Situations Ever Wednesday, Oct 29 2014 

Anne Niederkorn

By Anne Niederkorn, October 24, 2014

Workdays can be unpredictable. Some days effortlessly fly by, while others seem to drag on and on.

The same can be said of your focus. While some days you are laser-focused on your tasks, others you’ll find yourself, well, a bit distracted. Let’s face it: Not everything we do at work is fun, and sometimes it’s just easier to tune out (or tune into that YouTube video).

So, how do you reel yourself back in—especially when you know you need to get down to business?

For one thing, it’s always a good idea to clear your plate of any small nagging tasks. This way, your mind won’t be bothered by anything you should have already done. I also know that my noon workout helps raise my focus level for the rest of the afternoon.

But what else can you do, especially when faced with the most challenging days? Not to worry: I looked at four common work scenarios and came up with some tips on how to get yourself back on track.

When You’re in a Meeting

Shorter meetings equal better attention spans, but unfortunately, not all meetings are short and sweet. If you know a meeting might take a while, try to think of some proactive ways to end it a little sooner while still accomplishing everything. Does the meeting have an agenda and a designated timekeeper? If not, consider volunteering to draft one up or be the person who keeps everyone on track.

If there’s no way to shorten things up, ask to help the meeting facilitator take notes, which is bound to keep you actively listening. You might also want to sit up front or near the presenter—if more eyes are on you, the less likely you will be to drift off.

Lastly, don’t be afraid to speak up if you think the group needs a break. If it’s been 90 minutes straight without a breather and you find yourself getting restless, chances are everyone else will appreciate the chance to regroup as well.

When You Need to Complete a Difficult Task

Difficult tasks often require concentration and quiet. Unfortunately, you likely dwell in a cubicle farm full of loud co-workers and constant activity. Plus, there’s always the internet, primed and ready to lure you into news stories, funny videos, and social media.

If you know you’re easily distracted by all these things, it’s time to take action. Can you book a small conference room? Are you able to work at the local library? If you can’t change your environment, try earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones. Can’t work in complete silence? Create a playlist of relaxing music or sounds that help you concentrate. Apps such as Noisli or Coffitivity can provide different white noise sounds, like falling rain or even a busy coffee shop.

While you’re at it, close your browser (or use an app like Self-Control or Freedom, which kicks you out for a set period of time), change your instant messenger settings to “Do Not Disturb,” and alert your neighbors you are working onsomething that requires focus. If they are decent folks, they’ll respect your time and leave you alone (and hopefully keep the volume down on their conversations).

When You’re Working on a Routine Task

While some tasks require a lot of attention to detail, there are others that are sometimes so routine that we instantly grow bored—and then we either start getting sloppy or get distracted by our smartphone, our neighbors, or our manicure.

These are the times when my iPod is my best friend. Just as a few great songs help me get through a grueling run, the right tunes also help perk me up and keep me (somewhat) happy as I finish that tedious task. If the work is also time-consuming, be sure to set small goals for yourself, along with rewards. If that doesn’t motivate you to buckle down, then get tougher with yourself: Tell a buddy about your goal and place a bet. For example, if you don’t meet your goal, then you owe your colleague lunch—or maybe even a donation to her favorite charity.

When You’re in Training

Training can really test your focus and concentration, especially if it lasts all day or even over several. And nowadays, many trainings are delivered virtually, making it even more difficult to focus. It’s hard to stay excited about learning when you’re cooped up in a room all day, starting at a computer screen.

The best advice I ever got regarding training was this: After you’re finished, send an email to your boss, telling her what you’ve learned and how you’re specifically going to use these things. The first time I did this, my boss loved it. This in itself is a great reason to pay attention and take good notes. Besides writing down what the instructor says, keep your brain active by asking yourself how you could apply the knowledge in your job. Challenge yourself to make a list of at least two good questions for the instructor. And, of course, keep your caffeinated beverage of choice close by at all times.

Tell us! What do you do to focus?

5 Things People Reading Your Resume Wish You Knew (Abbreviated version) Tuesday, Oct 28 2014 

Lily ZhangBy Lily Zhang, October 21, 2014

I think this is some very good information!

https://www.themuse.com/advice/5-things-people-reading-your-resume-wish-you-knew?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_term=Daily%20Email%20List&utm_campaign=5%20Things%20The%20People%20Reading%20Your%20Resume%20Wish%20You%20Knew

1. If your relevant experience, education, or skills are hard to find at a glance, your resume might as well be blank.

2. If it’s not immediately clear from your experience why you’re applying, no one will connect the dots for you.

3. If your resume is difficult to skim, it probably won’t be read at all.

4. If you expect to get your resume in front of a hiring manager, you need to first make sure you get through HR.

5. If your contact info isn’t correct, nothing else matters.

The Best Ways to be Productive When Your Energy is Gone Monday, Oct 27 2014 

About The Author

Inc.com is where you can find everything you need to know to start and grow your business now. Inc.com is replete with small business ideas, information, and inspiration, as well as practical advice from those who have done it before.

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