Dropbox vs Google Drive

Dropbox vs Google DriveQuestion about Dropbox vs Google Drive.

Answer based on the Quora question:

Is Google Drive better than Dropbox

Both Dropbox and Google Drive offer storage and collaborative-working services They both have their advantages and of course their disadvantages. This blog post looks at some of these. Dropbox vs Google Drive, which would you choose?

I use both Dropbox and Google Drive for different purposes. This is the beauty of online storage, there is nothing stopping you from using one over the other or from using both. This can be for working on current documents or using backups.

Dropbox vs Google Drive: Drawbacks to sharing

The one single drawback that has put me off actually paying for Dropbox is the way they allocate their storage quota. What do I mean by that? Say you are using 1.5 Gigabytes (GB) of space on the free tariff but a friend needs to share a folder with you. Great, Sharing is easy with Dropbox. You set it up and where you had half a gigabyte spare before, now you suddenly have no space. Your friend’s folder is 0.5 GB. What happened? You were only using 1.5 GB last time you checked. Shared information counts towards your space no matter who shared the folder. Just for helping your friend you will now have to upgrade your subscription or remove some of your own stuff. This is why I call this a major drawback. If I pay for storage, then I want to be able to use that storage.

Contrast this to Google Drive. If someone shared a huge folder with you, it really doesn’t matter. That folder counts towards their quota, not yours. Share away my friends, I can take all your files! I probably wouldn’t want to but I could.

File sizes

A good trick with your Google account to get more space is to create your documents using Google Services. If you have hundreds of files created in Docs, Sheets or Slides for example. They will not count towards your storage limits.

Free Quota

  • Dropbox 2GB
  • Google Drive 15GB (This is shared with all the different Google Services in your one account).

Price comparison

  • Dropbox 1 Terabyte $9.99
  • Google Drive 1 Terabyte $9.99 (remember Google documents don’t count towards your limits so you effectively get more than this.)

You can collaborate using both services but Google Drive, in my opinion, has the edge in this regard. They are both great at synchronizing files across devices and are available on your mobile device.

Google Drive and Dropbox are not the only games in town, don’t forget that Microsoft’s OneDrive is also good.

Reference: https://support.google.com/drive/answer/2375123?hl=en

see question on quora

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What do you think? Please comment.

Home library: Storing books with no shelf space

book shelves in a home library

Question about a home library.

Answer based on the Quora question:

What is the best way to organize books if I don’t have a bookshelf?

If there is no shelf space available in your home librasry then sometimes the only way books can be stored is in a box hidden in a cupboard, the garage or even the attic. The question then is how do you find a book once is it is stowed away? Fear not Ceri Clark, former Librarian has the answer.

I used to be the library manager of the Audit Commission which had offices throughout England. There were some books in the office where I worked but there had to be about twenty at the most, the rest were held elsewhere. There was no storage space available at the offices so a former librarian had negotiated a contract to store the books in temperature controlled storage in some mines in Bath. We used the library catalogue in conjunction with some spreadsheets to keep track of the books. Whenever someone wanted a book we were emailed a request by the library catalogue and then we told the people at Restore which box the books were in.

How does this help me store my books in my home library?

I’m glad you asked. The same principles that ran the Audit Commission library can be used for your home library but on a much smaller scale. Say you have 3 boxes filled with fiction and non-fiction books, you can use Calibre (free software downloadable from the internet)  to catalogue your books.

Cataloguing your books is as simple as typing in the barcode into the software and it finding the book information on Amazon or some other database. All you would then need to do is label the boxes something as simple as Box 1, box 2 etc or something more detailed like Non-fiction books. Remember to write the Box number in the notes section in Calibre and voilà, when you search for the book on Calibre, it will tell you which box the book is currently stored in. If you have more than one storage space you can add this information too. For example Box 2, Attic or Box 3, Garage.

Another advantage of using Calibre over say a spreadsheet is that there is a cover flow so you can see at a glance whether the book is the right one. You can also search by tags which will put all the similar books together on one ‘shelf’ so if you are researching a subject and you have a number of books in it you can easily see what you need quickly as if you were browsing a real shelf in your hallway.

I have a chapter in A Simpler Guide to Calibre which goes into detail on how this can be done.

 

see question on quora

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Q&A: Organising hard and paperbacks in the home.

qandasmallQuestion:  Home Design: What is the best way to organize books if I don’t have a bookshelf?

I don’t have money to invest in a bookshelf, but would like to better organize my books! I have perhaps 3 bookshelf worth of books, and would like to be able to browse them.

You could always box them up out of sight and use software called Calibre to catalogue your books. You could then browse them like a library catalogue but on your home computer. 

Calibre is very versatile and you can not only catalogue your ebooks but also your paperbacks, hardbacks, CDs, DVDs etc. Pretty much you can catalogue anything using the software.

I did something similar to this when I ran the English Audit Commission library. All our books were boxed up in temperature controlled underground caves near Bath. If anyone requested a book, I would look up the book’s location in the library catalogue. If it was in the boxes, stacked up in Bath, I would request that it be sent direct to the client. I had a very tidy library!

Calibre is very like a library catalogue. I love the ability to flick through the covers of my books or browse through genres, authors etc.

You can even use the isbns on the back of the books to get Calibre to automatically catalogue the books for you. All you need is a barcode reader, which an Android phone and probably an iPhone could do for you. You wouldn’t even need to buy a dedicated barcode reader.

A Simpler Guide to Calibre 0 catalogue ebooks and paperbacks
A Simpler Guide to Calibre has a chapter on cataloguing paperbacks and other physical media

While cataloguing, just type in the notes (or tags ) fields the box number and/or location where you put your paperbacks and you will easily find the book again in the future, just by browsing or searching your collection.
I have a chapter in A Simpler Guide to Calibre which goes into detail on how this can be done.

see question on quora
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Q&A What is the difference between marking a message as read and archiving it?

ceri's q and aQuestion:

What is the difference between marking a message as read and archiving it?

A read and archived message are different things.

You can have a read or an unread email that is archived.

When a message is archived, what you are really doing is removing the inbox label from the email. This means it is removed from the inbox. It can be read or unread at this point.

When you read or mark an email as read, Gmail will change the colour of the email on the homepage but the email does not move. It stays in your inbox.

If you like a blank inbox at the end of the day then archiving is the way to go. Itis a way of telling if you have dealt with an email. After all you might have read an email but left it to later to answer. If you have lots of email, you might forget which ones you have dealt with.

How to archive an email

  1. Click on the box on the left of the email you want to archive.
  2. Click on the Archive button which will appear at the top of the page. It looks like a small grey box with an arrow pointing down.

To find an archived message, look in the All mail label/folder.

see the question "What is the difference between marking a message as read and archiving it?" on quora

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Q&A What’s the best way to organize my inbox such that I can mark messages which I still need to respond to differently from ones which I am waiting on a response to?

ceri's q and a

Q&A How do I find my new emails in Gmail?

ceri's q and a

Q& A How do I archive drafts on Gmail?

ceri's q and aQuestion: How do I archive drafts on Gmail? There are draft emails that I’ve written. I don’t want to send them or delete them. I don’t want them clogging up my drafts inbox (which serves kinda like a to-do list). Yet I want to keep them just in case. How do I archive them?

Email Management using Gmail gets a 5* Review

EMAIL MANAGEMENT USING GMAIL ADVERT
Readers’ Favorite Review

Email Management using Gmail by Ceri Clark shows ways to automate one’s email organization, specifically aimed at users of Gmail. It helps one in doing more productive work, rather than fighting the monster of email overload. It begins with a general discussion on the use of Gmail, a quick start guide where the facilities available and how to set them up are demonstrated. Use of labels, filters, groups and related particularities are treated at length with an overview of housekeeping of mails in general. Operational tips and how to appropriately use these facilities are provided with an index for easy reference or retrieval.

Email Management using Gmail by Ceri Clark changed my ideas about Gmail. Though having been a Gmail user for many years, I learned many of the capabilities of this email service that would have made my life easier from this book. (I wish I had reviewed this book earlier!) Not only that, this book contains a lot of information, but also presented in a reader friendly manner. Use of bulleted lists, charts and figures, a summary at the end of each chapter, screen captures accompanying descriptions of procedures and a good index greatly enhances the value of this as a reference. This is a great help to all those who use Gmail. With helpful hints and recommended techniques for utilizing the available functions, this book can enable readers to get more from this email service with less effort!

Rating: 5.0 stars. Reviewed By Roy T. James for Readers’ Favorite

Are you drowning in too many emails? Are you spending too much time everyday sorting and dealing with your inbox?

Email Management using Gmail is a practical guide for sorting your emails and getting things done.

Whether you are using Gmail or another email account, the principles in this book will help your to check and organize your emails so that you can spend just 10 minutes a day dealing with them.

 

The steps-by-step instructions use the free email accounts from Google and cover labels, filters and the great spam protection that Gmail provides.

Whatever your priorities, the email management strategies in this guide will help you to save time. This guide is all about getting it done, sorted and out of the way.

Check out the preview or click cn the buy button to find out more.

 

Email Management usign Gmail is available to buy on Amazon at: http://cericlark.com/Amazon/EmailManagementGmaile

Q&A What is the best font for email signatures? Why?


ceri's q and aThe question: What is the best font for email signatures? Why?

Email signatures need to be clear and easy to read. Readers need to get pertinent information quickly and easily. Sans serif fonts are best like Arial and Verdana because they are clear and also because most if not all people will have them on their computers.

I would like to add as someone with visual problems that the size should be ‘normal’ or at least 12pt. Most important of all, grey writing and lighter coloured text should not be used. Even people with ‘normal’ eyesight can find these difficult to read.

The amount of time I had to highlight, copy and paste a signature into another document just to read it because someone thought it looked nice to use tiny, light-grey writing on the white background, well, let’s just say i could have been doing something much more useful!

If you want people to be able to read and use your signature, keep it simple, clear and with good contrast. Dark colours against a light background or light colours against a dark background.

This question was originally posted and answered on Quora. Only my answer is reproduced and may be slightly amended to make sense as a stand alone answer. If you would like to read other answers, please click on the link below.

see question on quora

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Why a Gmail Inbox beats all other email accounts to save you time

Business woman in corridor with a Copy of A Simpler Gyuide to Gmail

Business woman in corridor with a Copy of A Simpler Gyuide to GmailI have used Google’s Gmail for my main email for years. I have also used Hotmail, Yahoo, Outlook and various smaller email addresses like ceri@millionaireintraining.com. That email address doesn’t exist anymore and I’m still waiting to be that millionaire!

My book, A Simpler Guide to Gmail, does go into why Gmail is such a great option for sending and receiving email but if you have bought my book you already know how great it is. This blog post is for people undecided among the big free email providers. Here’s why I think everyone should have a Gmail account:

  • It’s FREE – No getting your credit card out.A Simpler Guide to Gmail
  • Easy to use – You can get started straight away.
  • Nothing to install – Get access from anywhere you have an internet connection.
  • Clean interface – Go to what you need to do quicker.
  • Over 15 gigabytes of space (enough for a lifetime of email, although it is/can be shared between other Google services) – Lots of space.
  • Advanced Filters – Automate sorting your emails.
  • Spell Checking – Reduce the risk of sending out embarrassing mistakes.
  • Address Book (Contacts) – Start typing an email address for Google to autofill the contact using your Address Book details.
  • Mobile access (for your iPhone or Android mobile phone, although any phone capable of using a browser can use it) – Get your emails on the move!
  • Great spam protection – Save time from going through unwanted emails.
  • Your username and password for Gmail works for all the other free Google services like Search, YouTube, Chrome and Google+ etc. – Who wants to remember several passwords when one will do?

I opened a Yahoo email address as part of writing my book to see if importing emails had changed and I gained spam emails within the Yahoo account in about ten minutes of opening the account. I hadn’t even had a chance to send any emails yet! I rarely, if ever, get spam in my Gmail inbox.

There you go in a nutshell, there is no better email service in my opinion,

If you would like some tips and tricks for getting the most out of Gmail, please check out my book on Amazon. Where the Amazon Kindle Match is available, the Kindle ebook is free when you purchase a paperback.

A Simpler Guide to GmailThird edition of A Simpler Guide to Gmail: An unofficial user guide to setting up and using your free Google email account now available!

 

buy paperback1buy kindle1

Are you looking for free email but don’t know where to start? Do you use Gmail but want to use it more effectively? Do you want to organize your emails better? Spending too much time on your email? Then this guide for your Google mail account is for you!

This is the complete illustrated guide to setting and using Gmail. Packed full of tips and information.

Q&A My books have gone from Calibre, how do I get them back?

ceri's q and aMy books have gone, how do I get them back? A quick tip from A Simpler Guide to Calibre.

A Simpler Guide to Calibre
A Simpler Guide to Calibre, available as an ebook or paperback from Amazon.

It can happen that when you first load Calibre your books all seemed to have disappeared. This is usually because the software has been told your e-books library has moved to a different folder and is now pointing to the wrong place. This has happened to me during upgrades for example. Another reason may be that a special file called metadata.db (which is in the folder where your books are stored) has been deleted or corrupted. You will either need to tell Calibre where your books really are or rebuild the f
ile that is missing.

If your library has moved

Find the Calibre Library icon/logo (as seen below), then choose Switch/create library.

Switching to a Calibre library

Click on the little picture to the right of the box to browse your computer for the folder you just created and ignore the already checked Use the previously existing library at the new location and click OK. Your books should now reappear.

If the file metadata.db has been moved or corrupted

If you cannot find a file named metadata.db in the top folder where your library is located on your computer, it has been deleted. You may also encounter problems if it has been corrupted in some way. To fix this:

  1. First right-click on the Calibre icon in the Calibre toolbar (as above) and choose Library maintenance.
  2. Select Restore database and Calibre will rebuild the metadata.db file.

ceri's q and a

Q&A Have a small library but cannot afford a library management system (LMS) like Oliver, Unicorn or IS OXFORD? How about trying Calibre the free ebook library software?

Final - CALIBRE EBOOKI worked in libraries for over 11 years before giving up work to look after my son and write books. I understand that sometimes small libraries whether they are school libraries or corporate information departments don’t have the money to buy a full-blown library catalogue.

When you work in these organisations you may not need all the features of a full-blown library management system. If that is the case for you, give Calibre a look.

Calibre is free software downloadable from the internet. You can install it like any desktop application on your computer and use tags to catalogue your book’s physical locations.

In my book, A Simpler Guide to Calibre, I also explain how you can use tags to mark a book as out on loan or have virtual libraries so you can see at a glance which books are on loan and their due date.

If you only need a library catalogue for basic cataloguing but no budget or accessible IT department then Calibre could be your answer. Have one computer in your library set up and use it to search and loan your books.

You can not only use the catalogue to find your ebooks (which it is designed for) but you can add physical media such as music CDs or movie DVDs. The software can be used in a variety of ways with a little imagination.

It’s a great way to have a classic ebook collection. Fill up the catalogue with Jane Austen’s, Edgar Allan Poe’s or Robert Louis Stevenson’s books from the Gutenberg project and have a classic collection that will entertain for hours at no extra cost. You can add kindle addresses and get them sent to your customers’ Kindles.

If you don’t have a budget but you need an easy way to organize your books why not give it a try? The software is free after all!

Please stay tuned for other ways to get the most out of Calibre.

Thanks for dropping by.

Now for the obligatory mention of my relevant book:

Final - CALIBRE EBOOKA Simpler Guide to Calibre: How to organize, edit and convert your eBooks using free software for readers, writers, students and researchers for any eReader.

Buy from Amazon:

eBook | Paperback

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Why students should use Calibre to organize their ebooks, papers and other documents: A Simpler Guide to Calibre – the perfect gift for students

students calibreIt is not so long ago that I don’t remember what it was like as a student. Ahhh the life, drinking to the early hours while philosophizing about life, the universe and everything. Rocking up to the occasional lecture or watching daytime TV with a tin of baked beans in one hand and a spoon in the other. Oh wait, that wasn’t me, I was the goody-two-shoes who turned up at EVERY lecture, did her homework, went to the library and looked jealously on at the students nursing hangovers in the student bar who could get away with going in one day of the week!

This article is for the students who want to get the most out of their degrees by organizing how they keep track of their lecturer’s notes, articles they research from the library and ebooks and books that they need for work and leisure.

How can the free Calibre software help students?

Converting lecturer’s notes

If you are a student you know the problem, you are given or can download your lecturer’s notes but wait, they are in icky PDF file format or even as a Microsoft Word file. In the old days you would have had to print them out, read them on your computer or panned from left to write on your ereader (if it could take it). Well no more. Calibre will convert the ebook to almost any format you could desire. Have a Kindle Paperwhite, fire or app? Maybe you have a Nook or some other device that will only take ePUBs like Kobo? Calibre can convert from PDF to Mobi or PDF to ePUB easily. There maybe some formatting issues but the document will be a lot easier to read and will take up a lot less space in your book bag than a file full of notes!

Converting articles from the library

Most university/college libraries will have access to databases where you can download articles for free to help with your work. These can be from EBSCO or Proquest but they will usually be in the PDF format. Again Calibre will convert PDF to MOBI or ePUB at a click of a button.

Finding your notes, articles and books

Another way Calibre can help is in finding your notes, articles and books that you have found on your course. If you catalog (similar to how a librarian does but maybe not as thoroughly!) your ebooks, books, notes and articles then you will be able to browse by category. This could be by module or subject (you would put these in the tags section of a book’s information) or search the database to instantly find to what you already have access.

If the items are paper books or maybe DVDs then you will have put where you can find them or where you put them. If what you are looking for is an ebook, it is possible to read directly from Calibre or send them to your device.

News

Maybe your course requires you to keep abreast of current affairs? Why not use Calibre to download news from the top free news sites for your academic area and convert them to an ebook and get them sent directly to your Kindle?

There are several ways Calibre can help from being an ebook converter and organizer, to a news aggregator. However you use it, it will help you save time when you are writing that all important essay or dissertation – the night before it’s due…

Please stay tuned for other ways to get the most out of Calibre.

Thanks for dropping by.

Now for the obligatory mention of my relevant book:

Final - CALIBRE EBOOKA Simpler Guide to Calibre: How to organize, edit and convert your eBooks using free software for readers, writers, students and researchers for any eReader.

Buy from Amazon:

eBook | Paperback

How Calibre can help authors organize their research and convert their books before uploading to Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)

author calibre

I love Calibre. I love it so much I wrote a book on it. As an author, what’s not to like? It’s free. I should probably say that again. It’s free (very important for the cash strapped author). It can do so much like organizing your books, it is an ebook converter and you can read books on it and did I mention it’s free? Calibre is a powerful tool in an author’s arsenal. It can save you time in more than one way.

If you have found this article you are probably an author or know someone who is and you want to know how the software can help you so I’m going to break this down into two sections, ebook organization and converting ebooks.

Ebook organization

Say you have 50 ebooks and 50 paperbacks that you simply must have to research your book. Your house is also rammed to the rafters and you only have a small corridor leading through your house where you navigate piles of books threatening to topple like several mini versions of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. You could find the books you need but it would take a few days, a hat with a torch on it, some provisions and possibly a bag of breadcrumbs so you can find your way out again.

No fear, this is all in the past. While you are researching your book, catalog every book you need into Calibre. This goes for ebooks and paperbacks you own but it could also include books you don’t own but you find. For example, if you find an article and you can’t download it why not catalog it and put the link to it in the description. If you saw the book in a second-hand bookshop, type in the description where you saw it so you don’t forget. Voila, when you are searching for it in Calibre you only have to look in the description for the address or click in the description to take you to the article you need on the web.

Calibre is easy to use but if you run into trouble then please check out my ebook or paperback A Simpler Guide to Calibre: How to organize, edit and convert your eBooks using free software for readers, writers, students and researchers for any eReader.

Converting ebooks

I use Calibre to convert ebooks for research and to convert my ebooks for upload to Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP).

The two ways I convert for research are to change the articles I find to an easy-read format (converting from PDF to MOBI means that I can alter the text size for more comfortable reading) and I also download several blogs using the news gathering feature and then send them to my Kindle as ebooks in my nattily titled Writerly News edition. The first is more specific for research for books I am writing at a given moment and the second more for keeping me in touch with the author/publishing world.

The other reason I use the ebook converter side to Calibre is for uploading to KDP. I have tried uploading a Word file directly but KDP mangles the formatting. The resulting Kindle ebook ignores the styles I painstakingly created and sticks its nose up at other little formatting tricks I spend hours over to give the book a more premium feel. So what do I do? I add the docx file to Calibre. I convert the docx to MOBI and then I export on to my hard drive for uploading to KDP. Simple.

Please stay tuned for other ways to get the most out of Calibre.

Thanks for dropping by.

Final - CALIBRE EBOOKNow for the obligatory mention of my relevant book:

A Simpler Guide to Calibre: How to organize, edit and convert your eBooks using free software for readers, writers, students and researchers for any eReader.

Buy from Amazon:

eBook | Paperback

In countries where Kindle Match is available the Kindle eBook is free with the purchase of the paperback. Please see Amazon terms and conditions for their Kindle Match program.

Updating CeriClark.com

ProcrastinationOh procrastination, how I hate thou. Nah, I don’t really, How could I, we’re the best of chums. We meet every day before breakfast, after breakfast, have an early morning meeting before agreeing to meet up for the afternoon. Of course I wouldn’t want to offend my friend so we regularly meet up in the evenings as well.

My latest flirt with procrastination was rebuilding this site. I have a confession, I lurve messing with websites, the frustration of plugins not working, the tweaking of the themes – manna from heaven. That was until a couple of days ago when my hosting was threatened. It was taking about five minutes to make one small change until it finally stopped. Apparently a couple of my old sites, battylibrarian.co.uk and alldestiny.com had been compromised and there were lots of comments on there as well as lots of members.

I had a lot of traffic, I mean a LOT. This wasn’t useful traffic. These people were never going to buy any of my books or enjoy any of my articles. Nope, they want to sell their gubbins and drive traffic to their sites. They didn’t share anything useful it was simply to increase the Google rankings on their sites.

I don’t mind when people have reciprocal links, that’s just nice but all my websites were nearly shut down!

What have I learned? Not to allow comments automatically and not to have a directory. I will be very careful how I set up user access from now on but hey ho, it’s all a learning curve!

Cyber crime and hacking from the eyes of the bad guys

Have you ever wanted to know about hacking and cybercrime? Well I’ve been hooked since the eighties although I usually reserve my curiosity for for films and TV programmes with hacking in them.Last week I attended the HP Labs lecture in Bristol about cyber crime. Usually I go to HP Labs lectures for the free food and alcohol at the end (my husband goes for the techie lectures) but since I am up the duff the alcohol has been off limits so it takes a really good lecture to get me interested. This time I wasn’t disappointed.

The talk was presented by James Lyne, the Director of Technology Strategy at Sophos. You can see easily why he has risen so high. His talk was funny, engaging and kept me interested through the whole thing. It wasn’t too dumbed down either but I don’t think he needed to explain what a DDoS attack was – I mean everyone knows what one of those is right? Just please don’t organise one for my tiny insignificant website. You all have bigger fish to fry. He didn’t even plug the Sophos antivirus app which I already had installed on my Android phone. Respect!

It was fascinating to hear about the work they do at Sophos how sometimes they hack the hackers so they can find out from the bad guys what the vulnerabilities are so they can fix them, who then find new ones once they realise they have been fixed and then create new ones, which Sophos then find ‘cures’ for and so on. I could go on all night with that!

He showed us hacking tools he’d ‘stolen’ from the hackers and programmes which he used for his presumably white hat hacking jaunts.

The dangers of Smartphone security

There was a really funny part where he asked what smartphones people had. First he asked about iPhones and a few unsteady hands went up (James, is obviously an Apple fan) and he joked that the pride had gone and they needed to reclaim the coolness. Then he asked about Android users and a whole host of hands shot up, pride beaming out of every Android owning face in the room, including my own. How the world has changed!

The point about the smartphone part of the presentation is that many people think they are safe when using them. He was able to demonstrate just how unsafe they were by snooping using his equipment to find what wifi connections people had looked at even though they weren’t currently connected to any wifi. He said, had he been of the bad guy persuasion then he could have created a wifi connection with the same name as one which your phone had been connected to before, which would mean it would automatically connect without your knowledge and steal some private credential you would rather keep to yourself.

The last few minutes of the lecture were a question and answer session. One question I found fascinating. Which computer operating system would the speaker deem to be most secure? The answer was surprising. He was at pains to point put that if the system was properly configured then he would rank them, Linux, Windows then Mac. Kind of blows your mind away don’t it.

All in all, this was a brilliant lecture which I am so glad I went to. In fact for once the food and drink paled into comparison with the actual talk. Full markes to HP and SOPHOS. Although please HP, could you bring back the goats cheese parcels, those cylindrical dark green things were the worst thing I ever tasted. There is no sauce that could ever improve that! Oh and more variety of non-caffinated or alcohol drinks would be nice. I was stuck with Apple Juice again.

If you are interested in security then the there is a competition he was plugging. It was called Cyber Security Challenge UK. More information can be found at https://cybersecuritychallenge.org.uk/. It is worth doing, you could win training opportunities at Masters level as well as internship places. If I was cleverer I would go for it!

Designing the Myrddin Publishing website

After leaving my previous publisher, I joined a group of authors who decided to group together to create our own ‘true’ cooperative.
We were all very excited to do this. We would all be Indie authors but have the support and combined experience of the group. We all have talents we could share and with the enhanced marketing and bulk buying power of several people we thought we could try something different.

The beauty of the cooperative was that any author could stay in the group even if they were traditionally published or even if we started our own companies. For example I created my own label (Lycan Books) which is in association with the Myrddin Publishing Group.

After getting together with some of my fellow authors online, I went ahead and started on the website (http://www.myrddinpublishing.com/). I decided to go with WordPress because of the flexibility and ease of use.

The website is a showcase of all our best work and is growing – even though we are not accepting new authors. Readers can browse author bios and all our books in one place.

For those interested in the nitty-gritty, I used the Suffusion theme which has sliders incorporated in the theme.
An app I found really useful was the Amazon Affiliate Link Localizer plugin which allowed us to put any link on the site but any visitor would be sent to a customised link based on the country they are visiting from. This along with a YouTube plugin really makes the website ‘pop’.

I really hope you enjoy browsing the site as much as I enjoyed making it.

I get soooo frustrated with Apple products

I have been a user of Apple products for years. I bought, I think it was, a G4 laptop years ago when I was a student studying for my Masters. It was brilliant. I had no problems with it and I loved it. It got a bit old so with a teary farewell I sold it on eBay. The battery lasted FOREVER and in those days I didn’t mind squinting closely at the screen to see what I needed to do. These days I want my technology to bend to me not it. Afterall I pay for my gadgets they don’t pay for me!

Apple iMac

I bought an Apple IMac with a 27″ screen and absolutely loved it when I bought it. I really bought it for the screen and when it works it is amazing. Unfortunately it fails on m e at the most frustrating times.

I was busy putting together my Gmail book, happily creating screenshots and pasting it into my Word doc when, BAM, the screen goes black. WTF?!?!? I scream for Nick, my in-house tech guy also known as The Husband. He remote  desktops into the iMac and he is able to save it. Thank God! This happens whenever I use the computer for more than three hours – which is when I write or make book covers – most of my leisure time!

We have an appointment at the Genius bar – I hope they can’t fix it – it IS still covered by the Care thingy.

Software

I tried using solely the iMac for a while but it drove me crazy and I kept getting headaches. The problem is I have some graphics software only available on the Mac. I cannot upgrade to LION because if I do then I can’t use this software which is the only reason I use the Mac operating system. Today it kept force-closing on me and I couldn’t get it to work. Why oh why can’t I use my iMac without encountering problems!

Reasons why I can’t get an IPhone

I’m clumsy, I’ll admit it. Two days ago I managed to drop my Samsung Galaxy SII FOUR times in the same day. I forgot to put my cover on after a recent software upgrade so it slid out of my pocket and bounced on the ground while I got out of the car. I’m just lucky Nick didn’t drive over it on the way to HIS work! The phone has scratches on the corners but with the Bumper on you can’t see them and it is in full working order.

Why do I say I can’t get an iPhone? Take a look at this Youtube video an you’ll understand why a clumsy person like me can’t use one!

Font Size

I simply can’t see them on the iPhone, I’ve tried but no good. I have discovered BigFont on Android however and my quality of life has improved dramatically.

Conclusion

So you see, I do try to use Apple products but they are so badly designed for my needs. I’m like a moth to a flame. I can’t help buying the things and i suffer the consequences. Still there is always MIcrosoft and Google…

 

Birds are now breaching copyright law…

…according to a media company…

Slashdot has been abuzz with the news that a nature video enthusiast was accused of ‘borrowing’ copyrighted sounds and putting them on his video.

It turns out the media company actually meant the birdsong. The uploader claims that the video was taken in the wilderness and the sounds were all natural birdsong.

Youtube (from reports on Slashdot) then disputed the video and it was claimed that the video was confirmed to have violated some copyright. As a result, adverts would be put on said video and the proceeds would go to the copyright owner.

This can only mean that all birds are thieving varmints and we should round them up and put them in some sort of bird jail lest they trick some other unwary nature lover into recording their song and perpetuating this heinous copyright theft. What other animals are stealing our sounds? Will we have to put whales in an underwater jail? I mean I have heard recorded whale song, this means that anytime a whale communicates to another whale they should be paying some sort of royalty to the whale song recorders. They could pay in fish?

How dare our feathered friends steal our music. It’s copyright theft now but if they get away with it who knows what will happen next? They will be taking our homes and Alfred Hitchcocks’ The Birds will become reality. We cannot let this happen!

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In other bird news, a council in Devon (UK) has cut down a copse of trees to stop starlings from settling there. Apparently their droppings are poisonous and rather than respect the right of birds to nestle in trees we should evict them in case some idiot decides to eat their droppings.

The world is going mad.

Oi App Developers, not everyone has good eyesight!

The BBC has an article in their technology section talking about a new app which should be available in the future on iOS and Android devices. I’m all for Apps to make my life easier which is why I originally wrote A Simpler Guide to the best free Android Apps (my attempt at keeping track of the useful ones!)

The app on the BBC website is primarily designed for blind people so that they can type on touchscreen phones but the article mentions the designers hope that people with full sight will use it for when they want to type but are busy watching something at the same time. …teenagers in their maths lessons? Sorry cynicism kicking n.

Regular readers of my blog will know of my despair with app developers who assume everyone has 20/20 vision when designing their apps. Although the worst offenders, (Google+ app for example) have no way to increase the text size on their apps there are others who would get ‘could do better’ on their school reports. These are the developers who limit their text size options.

An example of a ‘could do better’ app is Docs to Go. I love this app, it is very useful, but it also has its problems. The designers in their infinite (*lack of) wisdom have decided to limit the text enlargement to 200%. I’m sorry, but that is just not good enough. I need bigger. If you have bothered to put the ability to enlarge text you should allow your customer to know what their vision needs are. There are so many types of sight problems and vision levels that you should design your apps so that they can be enlarged to an extent where one word fits the screen. There is probably a lot of people out there where even this extreme size would help.

My point for this article is that people with sight problems are customers too. There are a lot of people ageing out there and a lot of them with cash burning a hole in their pocket. By making your app difficult to use you are alienating a demographic with money to spend. I’m not a businessman but to me that just sounds silly.

Developers, pretty please, make your apps accessible…?