March 20th, 2013 by

In recent months, some big sites like LinkedIn and Evernote have had password leaks. Twitter hasn’t been immune to hacks, and even Sony a few years ago had credit card data stolen. There is, unfortunately, no perfect system – there are only the sites that haven’t been hacked yet.

PadLock-iconIn some cases, if a site that you have an account with is hacked, you might think, “I never really used such-and-such, it doesn’t really matter if hackers get into that account.”

That may be true to a degree. It may not really matter if that account is exploited. However, many people reuse passwords. So if your password for this unused account is the same as your email password, now your email is vulnerable.

That’s scary in itself. But it gets worse.

If you email account is vulnerable, then nearly every account you have with that email address becomes vulnerable. How?

If you’ve ever lost a password, you’ve probably used a “Lost your password?” link of some sort, in which case you know that if you don’t know a password, all you usually need is your email address and you can reset that password.

Here’s how it breaks down:

  1. You sign up for a new service using your email address and go-to password
  2. You forget about the service and never close your account
  3. The service is hacked and account information is leaked
  4. Hackers (and bad-bots) use this information to do 2 things
    1. get into your account on that service
    2. use your account information to get into other services (such as email or social networks)
  5. If the hacker can get into your email, other passwords become irrelevant
  6. The hacker can use the forgotten-/lost-password links on any site, and since they can get into your email, they can reset your password.

You might be tempted to think, “I’m not famous enough for anyone to bother hacking my account.” Although celebrities may at times be special targets, often the goal is to simply be destructive, not to target any individual.

With all that in mind, I hope you see the main point: Protect your email account above all else.

Here are a few general tips:

  • If your password is found in a dictionary – don’t use it, change your password now
  • If your password is a dictionary word, but you’ve done something like replaced “e” with “3” – don’t use it, change your password now
  • If you use the same password on multiple sites – change your passwords now
  • If your password is your username, real name, pet’s name, anniversary date, email address, etc – change it now

Consider a passphrase. What’s that? It’s several real words joined together, such as page massage volume chicken (this was randomly generated by passphra.se). The advantage with passphrases is that they are easier to remember than passwords like WdVL6hKAhVG17 and they’re more secure! They are also handy if you’re entering a password on to your mobile device.

If you’re a Gmail user, I highly recommend enabling 2-step verification as an added layer of security.

There are even more tips, such as how to keep track of all your unique passwords, on this Inndx.com post, How to change your password, as well as a video that shows you how to change your password on a WordPress site.

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September 26th, 2012 by

HTML 5

A little background on HTML 5

If you spend much time on the internet, especially around website design & development communities, you’ve probably heard of HTML 5. But what is it?

HTML 5 is the fifth version of Hypertext Markup Language – the language behind every website on the internet. HTML 4 as an official standard was published back in May 2000, and as you may know, 12 years is a very long time when it comes to anything related to the internet and technology.

While large portions of the HTML 5 specification are supported in modern web browsers – such as Safari, Firefox, and Chrome – it is not yet “the standard” and there are still aspects of it that are under development.

So what’s so special about HTML 5?

Well, think of this: YouTube debuted in 2005 – that’s five years after HTML 4 came out. When HTML 4 was being developed, video on the web wasn’t on their minds. (Flashback: http://lava360.com/10-years-old-web-designs-of-famous-websites/) The web has evolved immensely over the past 12 years, and it’s time we had a language that could support these features natively.

Keep reading →

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May 6th, 2011 by

The web is growing fast, and new tools and techniques are being used all the time. When it comes to what’s online, it only takes a few years for what was once new, to become outdated. So how can you tell if your website needs a checkup?

Sites that take advantage of today's smallest average screen size have space to show off larger photos

How wide is your site?

The average screen size today is larger than it was five years ago. This means that if your site was built in 2006, there’s probably some unused screen real estate you could take advantage of now.
If your site can be widened, this means that there could be room for larger photos. Plus, you might be able to sport a nice multi-column layout that’s not too cramped; these sidebars can be a great place to post positive reviews or quotes, as well as call-to-action buttons.

Does your site have a “table-based” layout?

Once upon a time, it was common practice to build a site using a “table-based” structure. This was a great way to control the layout of your site – you could control columns as you would in a spreadsheet. However, this is not the way modern sites should work. Why? Those sorts of layouts are much more difficult to maintain over time since a lot more code goes into building the layout. More code means longer page load times – something that search engines now take into consideration when ranking a website. Lastly, it’s not correct syntactically, meaning that tables should be used for “tabular data” like comparison charts, or the sort of information you might put into a spreadsheet.

Are your main links image-based or text-based?

Did you know that there are only a handful of internet or “web-friendly” fonts? With current technology, we can expand that number, but in the past, the only way to use a non-standard font was to save your text as an image. This might seem pretty harmless because humans can still read it even though it’s an image of text. But here’s the problem: search engines aren’t human. Granted, search engines seem to be getting smarter all the time, but there’s still a limit to what they can “read”. If your text, and especially important links, were created as images the search engines can’t “read” what your pages or links are about, which may reduce the link’s relevance and ranking.

Sites that depend on Flash may not render correctly in some places

Does your site depend on Flash?

There’s no denying that Flash animation, when done well, is very eye-catching. But there are some things to consider, for example, Google’s relatively new site preview ability (that magnifying glass next to some of your search results). Google will attempt to get a snapshot of your site so visitors can quickly tell if this is what they’re looking for. But it can’t (at least not yet) capture Flash. Instead, it’ll replace what should be Flash with a gray block and a puzzle piece. Secondly, the ever-present iDevices (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch) do not support Flash. Fortunately, many effects that were once only possible with Flash can now be mimicked using other methods like JavaScript. For example, simple features, such as a header slideshow or photo galleries, are implemented easily in JavaScript. These two websites use JavaScript to make their slideshow run: Inn and Spa at Cedar Falls and the Oregon Bed and Breakfast Guild

How can you tell where your site stands?

If you’re not sure how your site measures up to the modern standard, and if you’re interested in finding out, contact InsideOut Solutions at info@insideout.com to request a free report. In a week or less, we’ll review your site and let you know how it stands, and what steps you can take to bring it up to date. Please write “Website Standards Review” in the subject line of your email request.

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January 31st, 2009 by

If you are looking for a bed and breakfast availability calendar,
please click your back button and contact the inn directly.

As of January 2009, SavvyBooking has been deactivated.

If you are an innkeeper who had been using SavvyBooking for your property, please call 1-800-500-8401 and discuss your calendar options with Shawn.

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