Bitter Grounds - espresso fueled ramblings

Monday, December 18, 2017

Web design 101 - how not to market your website

I operate on the assumption that it's easy to get things wrong so I tend to be (marginally) tolerant when I see goofs on websites. I chuckle, sometimes throw the error up on my site to share, knowing full well that could have been my error.  With web design, it's so easy to get get something wrong. Once in awhile I see something that leaves me a bit stunned, like this: 

web design failure

Read more: Web design 101 - how not to market your website

End of the line for the much loved Picasa

logo picasa Google announced February 12, 2016 that it will be killing Picasa, the much loved, user friendly photo management program.  It's being retired sometime this spring, in favour of Google Photos, their online offering. You can download an app to auto upload your photos to Google Photos but you still have to edit on line. It's all fine storing on the web, but if you have a largish image, it's a major pain in the ass editing via your browser. After March 15, 2016, Google will no longer be supporting or updating the program and will no longer offer it for download.

Picasa was brilliant in it's simplicity.  It allowed for some great edits right on the computer with no need to upload anything. I find the newer Google Photos editing a bit clumsy and irksome. It lacks the depth of tools Picasa has and the great ability to create slide shows and share them with none Google users.  It does have a button to create animation, which creates a poor man's slideshow with no way to package and send it. You can share it, by giving access to the album, but you can't pop it on a usb drive and take it with you.

Read more: End of the line for the much loved Picasa

Arriving late to the dance – Twitter finally takes harassment seriously

t BirdFor years people have complained about the vicious level of trolling and bullying that is conducted on Twitter. There have been concerted campaigns of harassment, conducted via Twitter, that have driven people to the brink. Piss the wrong person off and you’ll be on the receiving end of a non stop barrage of threats, cruel attacks and more. The worst of the trolls use Twitter as a gathering point to coordinate their attacks. 

Contrary to what some in the media try to claim, these aren’t just incidents of name calling and a few insults lobbed back and forth. Telling someone to “man up” or “stop whining” pretty much encourages the attackers. If I stood on a street corner and some random person came up to me threatening to kill me or followed me down the road spewing invectives, I’m pretty sure this would be seen as unacceptable.  There is a difference between a flame war and a directed campaign of harassment. A flame war has two willing participants. Harassment doesn’t. Most efforts to combat the problem have been pretty half-hearted or poorly instituted. Twitter has been a playground for extremists and a vicious variety of trolls.

Read more: Arriving late to the dance – Twitter finally takes harassment seriously

Win 10 - Can no longer adjust screen brightness

Win 10 quick tip:

If you can no longer adjust your screen brightness, there's a quick fix.

  1. Right click on the small Windows icon located at the bottom, left hand side of your screen.

  2. Locate Device Manager and left click on it.

  3. When Device Manager opens, right click at the top of the list and scan for hardware changes.

  4. Look down the list and left click once on Monitor to drop the menu down.

  5. There should be a small down arrow.

  6. Right click on the monitor.

  7. Click Enable.

  8. Close Device Manager.

That should do it. You should be able to adjust your monitor's brightness.

Google ads – fighting scam advertisers

In 2015, Google Ads pulled 780 million ads that violated Google’s policies. They pulled ads that were shilling fake cures, counterfeit goods, malware and supremely irritating ads that pop up and cover your entire page – you know them. You start reading a page and suddenly a crappy ad covers the entire page and you have to search for that teeny little x to close it. Chances are, the x is so small, you accidently click the ad and end up in some online version of spam hell. They piss me off so badly, I don’t return to sites that do this.

Read more: Google ads – fighting scam advertisers

Password insecurity - the usual suspects

The annual list of truly bad passwords is now out and it still brings a tear of despair to any computer techie’s eyes. Despite all the warnings and examples of the chaos caused by hacked accounts, people still use “password”, “12345678” and “abc123” as the gatekeepers to their personal information. Worse still are those that use the same password across all their devices and accounts.

I have a couple of customers like that. No matter how much I beg and plead with them to change from “87654321” (yea, that’s going to be hard to figure out) or “123456”, they still fall back on the same easy to guess passwords. Or my next favourite – the customer who uses their kids name as their wifi network name and then uses the same names as their router and email password. No, using “karenmike2011” really isn’t a good deterrent to any moderately lazy hacker.

Read more: Password insecurity - the usual suspects

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“We are stuck with technology when what we really want is just stuff that works.”

 ― Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt

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