Monday, October 26, 2009

Ning's Virtual Gifts



If you have created a social network on Ning due to the blog post I wrote here on Web Bytes (http://www.webbytesblog.com/2009/06/social-networking-ning-platform.html), you may be interested in the following information as the network creator.

Early last week Ning has joined others in introducing “Virtual Gifts” such as teddy bears, books, desserts, flowers, jewelry, handbags etc. to their network. This feature gives members another way of connecting with each other. Network creators have two ways of customizing the gifts on their network - They can choose from hundreds of Ning Gifts that are applicable to the type of activity on the network they have created or provide their own custom gifts through upload to the Gift Store for their Ning network. Ning may also allow network creators to customize the Gift Store for their network.

This new feature makes history as it is Ning’s first attempt at a revenue-generating feature on its networks and providing a 50/50 revenue sharing Incentive Program between Ning and the network creators. Once the network creators have opt-in to the Incentive Program they can start receiving their share of the revenue earned quarterly starting in 2010 when they have earned a minimum of $100.00.  Ning also starts each network member with 100 credits to go toward the purchase of “Virtual Gifts” on their network. More credits can be purchased through the Gift Store with a PayPal account.

To give a member a “Virtual Gift”:
  • Click on the Member tab
  • Select the member you would like to give a gift to. You will be taken to that member’s page
  • Click on the link by the gift box that states “give a gift”. You will be taken to a page with gift categories. You can narrow your search to a specific category or search all the “Virtual Gifts” available on your network
  • Selected your “Virtual Gift”
  • Add a message like you would on a gift card
  • Set the privacy setting
  • Send Gift for delivery to the member’s My Page
As I browsed the Gift Store for my network, the “Virtual Gifts” were all worth 75 credits except one. This was a pink ribbon signifying, to me, breast cancer which is celebrated during the month of October.

Hope this information will encourage you as a Ning network creator to go deeper in creating your Virtual Gift Shop if you choose to opt-in to the Ning’s Gift Store Incentive Program. I like the idea of the ability to have a free gift to choose from as the one signifying Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I think this should continue throughout the year for other worthy causes. What are your thoughts?

As always, post your comments, email me with your topics and let’s have a good time learning together

In His Service,
AvaByGrace

You can follow this blog via the “Follow with Google Friend Connect” link on the right, add http://www.webbytesblog.com/ to your RSS feed or Google Reader.


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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Tid Bit - Technorati Article


Hi Everyone;
I just published an article on Technorati.com about OpenOffice.org 3.2 (OOo) Beta that is not suitable for home computing (I am so proud of this accomplishment). Briefly, OOo is an office productivity application similar to Microsoft Office that we here at Web Bytes Blog are very familiar with. If there are no “show-stoppers” in the testing, this will become the latest version of the OOo application scheduled for release in December 2009, just in time for the holidays. It is at that time that I would write a post for Web Bytes Blog on all the new features and enhancements that would be of value to us. Please visit the link below and let me know what you think of this article as well as browse the new Technorati site which was deployed on Monday. ~Thanks!

http://technorati.com/technology/article/openofficeorg-32-beta-available/

Reminder: Windows 7 is scheduled for release today!

As always, post your comments, email me with your topics and let’s have a good time learning together

In His Service,
AvaByGrace

You can follow this blog via the “Follow with Google Friend Connect” link on the right, add http://www.webbytesblog.com/ to your RSS feed or Google Reader.



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Monday, October 19, 2009

Passwords Revisited


Due to the recent users’ credential compromise of some email accounts (Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo, some AOL, Comcast and EarthLink’s accounts) as well as it being National Cyber Security Awareness Month, makes this the perfect time to revisit passwords. Previously we discussed in detail creating and using strong passwords see http://www.webbytesblog.com/2009/05/strong-password.html and http://www.webbytesblog.com/2009/06/secure-passwords.html. Upon investigation of the Hotmail incidents, it was discovered that the majority of people whose passwords were compromised used weak passwords. An example of this is using “12345” as their password, but I know Web Bytes Blog readers would not be among this group because you have read my previous password blogs and you practice the tips you get here :)

There are software applications that can help with the creation and management of strong passwords if you prefer not to handle this part of your computer security. Some of these applications are Lastpass password manager which has a free and premium version, Roboform which also has a free and pro version, StickyPassword, AnyPassword which has a free and pro version, Password Director, and Safe-n-Secure password manager.  To visit the Web sites for these applications just add .com to the name in your browser and you will be directed there.

In addition to creating and using strong passwords, the security suite you use to secure your computer and other maintenance practices are very important to ensure you are doing all you can to protect your assets and identity. Don’t just have these applications installed on your computer. Make sure they are updated as they should, if for some reason the applications are not automatically updated. Below are some links to previous Web Bytes Blog posts in connection to securing your information and your computer. Additionally, you can do a search on Web Bytes Blog to find more blog posts on security.

As always, post your comments, email me with your topics and let’s have a good time learning together

In His Service,
AvaByGrace

You can follow this blog via the “Follow with Google Friend Connect” link on the right, add http://www.webbytesblog.com/ to your RSS feed or Google Reader.

Reference Link:
More Lists with Stolen Email Account Credentials Uncovered

http://news.softpedia.com/news/More-Lists-With-Stolen-Email-Account-Credentials-Uncovered-123649.shtml

Web Bytes Blog Links:
http://www.webbytesblog.com/2008/10/home-computing-security.html
http://www.webbytesblog.com/2008/10/spybot-search-destroy.html
http://www.webbytesblog.com/2008/10/pharming.html
http://www.webbytesblog.com/2008/10/phishing.html


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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Tid Bit - Optimum Online Backup

For those of you who have Optimum online as your Internet Service Provider (ISP), they are offering up to 2GB free backup for your computer files. This offer is for residential usage only. This free service will be powered by Carbonite which automatically backup the most important files on your computer. The backup files are encrypted and stored at a secured location and available to you from any computer with Internet access. This action would help protect your files from accidental deletion, computer failure, theft, power surges and disaster. If you would like unlimited backup, you would have to upgrade to their $44.95 per year which is discounted as their current rate is $55.00 per year. If you missed this through Optimum you can visit http://www.optimum.net/backup for complete details. You can also visit the Carbonite site at http://www.carbonite.com/ to find out how the service works.

As always, post your comments, email me with your topics and let’s have a good time learning together

In His Service,
AvaByGrace

You can follow this blog via the “Follow with Google Friend Connect” link on the right, add http://www.webbytesblog.com/ to your RSS feed or Google Reader.


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Monday, October 5, 2009

HAPPY 1st BIRTHDAY, WEB BYTES BLOG!

Today is Web Bytes Blog’s first birthday…HAPPY 1ST BIRTHDAY! I can’t believe a whole year has passed since I wrote my first blog post, incorporating a few articles I originally wrote for Gracious Times Newsletter on Phishing and Pharming, thereby creating Web Bytes Blog's beginning history on Blogger ~ boy time really flies.

With the starting of Web Bytes Blog's second year, I pray God will give me the desire to continue writing and you to continue reading and commenting. There are a few topics I need to revisit or research per your recommendations and I prayerfully would like to do so within the next few months.

Please continue to comment and submit your questions and topics for research. Thank you for taking this year long journey with me, that we continue on together and you invite your family and friends to join us.

In His Service,
AvaByGrace


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National Cyber Security Awareness Month - 2009


In addition to October being Web Bytes Blog’s first birthday, it is also the 6th National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM). During this month, the federal government has a multi-state campaign to collectively offer guidance to help Americans become cyber security conscious both at home and in the work place. Conscious effort must be taken to be aware of where you are going before you click a link on the Internet just as you would while walking the streets. Try to remember that cyber security is your responsibility just as it is for the other guy.

Some of the steps to improve computer security at home have already been discussed in various blog posts throughout the year (see the links section below) but will be reiterated here for enforcement and to make cyber security a habit.
- Installation and proper use of:    
      Anti-virus applications
      Spyware
      Spam filters
      Firewalls
      Parental controls

- Backing up critical files via external media. Also use passwords on your portable devices

- Keep up-to-date your operating system and Web browsers

- Use caution while sharing sensitive information

- Use strong passwords or strong authentication technology

- Check for https or pad lock protocols when sharing sensitive information on trusted Web sites

There will be various articles and exhibits around the country during October in celebration of NCSAM. If possible, plan an afternoon to enjoy some of theses activities. You can download a cyber security awareness toolkit at http://www.msisac.org/awareness/oct09/2009awareness.cfm all in PDF downloadable format. The kit includes an awareness calendar, posters, bookmarks, a how to guide for IT security in government, etc. Some security awareness events scheduled are Florida’s security summit and Webcast at http://www.floridagtc.com/ on October 6 and West Virginia’s conference and Webcast at http://www.state.wv.us/ot/article2.cfm?atl=E7F0EC88-B89D-11D5-92170020781CA4C6 on October 19. A full calendar of events can also be found at http://www.staysafeonline.org/ncsam. I am sure there are other states participating in this national security awareness project. If you know of others, please share with us.

Non-technical computer users can get security advice from the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) at http://www.us-cert.gov/cas/tips/. You can sign up to receive tips via email directly to your inbox

As always, post your comments, email me with your topics and let’s have a good time learning together

In His Service,
AvaByGrace

You can follow this blog via the “Follow with Google Friend Connect” link on the right, add http://www.webbytesblog.com/ to your RSS feed or Google Reader.


Links of Interest for Cyber Security Awareness:
Cyber security month tip of the week: Don’t be fooled by scams

http://www.ucsc.edu/news_events/text.asp?pid=3255

Safety Tips on Free Internet Access
http://www.webbytesblog.com/search?q=https

Backup Applications
http://www.webbytesblog.com/2009/06/backup-applications.html

Strong Passwords
http://www.webbytesblog.com/2009/05/strong-password.html

In-Session Phishing
http://www.webbytesblog.com/2009/02/in-session-phishing.html

The Difference between Http and Https
http://www.webbytesblog.com/2009/01/tib-bit.html

Automatic Maintenance
http://www.webbytesblog.com/2008/10/automatic-maintenance.html

Home Computing Security
http://www.webbytesblog.com/2008/10/home-computing-security.html


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Saturday, October 3, 2009

Doodle

I first used Doodle while taking part in a poll to determine the date and time most appropriate to schedule a training session and it really works. The date most convenient for all involved through the poll was chosen for the training. Doodle eliminated the going back and forth either through emails or by phone to arrive at a schedule that was doable for all.

In its basic form, Doodle is a free online tool that aids in the scheduling of appointments, lunch, conference calls, family reunions, movie night etc. with no download or registration required. You can also create your very own poll for such activities/events/things as movies, menus, travel destinations or any other selection you are interested in. The Doodle site (http://www.doodle.com/) has step-by-step instructions for creating your poll and scheduling an event. Once you have created your poll, you will invite others to vote for their preference of time or activity as the poll directs. Registration is not required as previously mentioned to use Doodle, however, by registering for a Doodle account you have access to more features as well as keep track of the polls you initiated and participated in. Doodle also has two paid for products (Premium Doodle and full Branded Doodle) that are not ad-supported as with the free products. The Functions and Products link below will give you a comparison of the various features for each product level.

Doodle can also connect to your calendar allowing you to create polls from within the application such as Outlook, Google Calendar, Apple iCal and Lotus Notes. You can start your poll within your calendar application and invite people to participate in the poll using your address book. You can sync your calendar based on your participation in the poll or the final date. There is an installation guide and user manual for the Outlook plug-in. You can change your calendar integration under “Manage Account” once you have created a MyDoodle account.

Give Doodle a try for your next scheduled event or create a poll for that ultimate spot for your next family reunion (http://www.doodle.com/).


As always, post your comments, email me with your topics and let’s have a good time learning together!

In His Service,
AvaByGrace


You can follow this blog via the “Follow with Google Friend Connect” link on the right, add http://www.webbytesblog.com/ to your RSS feed or Google Reader.


Links:
Functions and Products

http://www.doodle.com/about/productOverview.html

Frequently Asked Questions
http://www.doodle.com/about/faq.html%20

Blog
http://doodle.com/blog/english/

Help
http://www.doodle.com/about/help.html%20

Terms of Service
http://doodle.com/about/tos.html%20


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