Things I have recently quit

images1. LinkedIn. I deleted my profile and completely quit this most useless of social networks. In all the years I kept up my profile and made connections, I got absolutely nothing in return. Even when searching for a job, it was useless. In retrospect, it’s like the Classmates.com of the aughts.

2. Dropbox. First they looked at user files, then they hired Condoleezza (why does her name have two z’s) Rice as their “privacy advisor.” Besides, I wasn’t really using it anyway.

3. Facebook. Again. But then I had to rejoin. It’s a very necessary evil, unfortunately, being in a band and trying to connect to fans, venues, and clients.

Link

Serious Vulnerability in WordPress Jetpack Plugin

Get your updates going as soon as possible, as this looks pretty serious!

This is a bad bug, and Jetpack is one of the most widely used plugins in the WordPress world. We have been working closely with the WordPress security team, which has pushed updates to every version of the plugin since 1.9 through core’s auto-update system. We have also coordinated with a number of hosts and network providers to install network-wide blocks to mitigate the impact of this vulnerability, but the only sure fix is updating the plugin.

So not only is that an issue, but if you haven’t done your part in protecting yourself from this week’s HeartBleed bug, which has scared the bejeezus out of the entire Internet, get yourself fixed up ASAP!

If you are lucky enough to have been using LastPass to manage your passwords, log in there and do a Security Check to find out which websites you frequent may be vulnerable to that bug. LastPass will also help you quickly change passwords as needed.

Good luck, citizens!

 

Gigabit Internet Coming to Asheville Soon

This is what the Internet looks like as it travels through the tubes.

You read that right!  According to the WRAL “Techwire,” Raleigh and Asheville will soon be getting blazing fast gigabit Internet, well ahead of Google Fiber reaching our neck of the woods.

That’s about 1000 times faster than your average Charter or Comcast cable Internet service. You can download an entire HD movie in roughly 30 seconds. Believe it or not, this will bring us more in line with the rest of the planet, where speeds have far surpassed those in the US in recent years.

When Does it Happen?

“Asheville will receive service about the same time as Raleigh, according to RST Fiber co-founder and CEO Dan Limerick.”

According to the article, that will be within 60 days or so.

The part about a-la-carte TV service sounded appealing to me as well. Imagine only paying for the channels you want. I’ve been a proponent of this concept for years. It remains to be seen how this will actually work, but there is hope.

This is exciting news!

Time to abandon home page sliders for good

Our themes don’t have sliders… Because sliders suck.

  • Only 1% of the people actually click on a slide, which almost always was the first slide;
  • People simply ignore your slider, because it triggers banner blindness;
  • They slow down your site, negatively impacting your SEO and conversion rate(!!);
  • They don’t always work well on mobile devices,
  • They push your content down, which Google recently mentioned yet again is not smart;
  • It dilutes your message, because suddenly there are multiple messages on your homepage.

Convinced yet? Let’s abandon the notion of using slideshows/sliders/carousels on websites and make the web a nicer place to browse!

Free Stock Photos: Many Resources

2014-02-08_10-09-19Thanks to a thread over on Reddit, I have discovered a world of free, use-for-anything stock photography resources. They range from websites where you can sign up for free photos to be delivered via email to those where you can search and browse, and they all tend to not be very crappy!

While I’m not a fan of smiling faces on websites because of the impersonal feeling, and the fact that Google might soon penalize you for using stock photography, I do like the idea of having free resources available which can be used for compiling visuals that help narrate a story on your website. The following links are full of such images, and much more.

Disclaimer: Always read the fine print, just in case, to make sure you are allowed to use the image you are downloading without attribution or payment! Whenever possible, it’s still a good gesture to give credit where credit is due, even if you don’t have to legally.

Google Image Search for Commercial Reuse

Contrary to popular belief, you cannot search Google Images and simply use any photo you find in your project. This specially crafted search, however, produces images that are OK for commercial use and modification:
Google commercial reuse image search

Note: It is possible for images found here to have been reposted by someone who copied it from the original source. Just because you find it on Google Image search for commercial use doesn’t mean it’s absolutely OK to use without proper credit/compensation. 

Flickr

Similar to the above Google Images search, you can browse Flickr using a similar technique:
Flickr Creative Commons license photo search

IM Free

This site lets you search a collection of curated photos for commercial use:
http://imcreator.com/free

Gratis Photography

While not easily searchable, there are some great photos on this website.
http://www.gratisography.com/

Photo Pin

Here you can search for “free photos for bloggers and creatives”. Enough said.
http://photopin.com/

Creative Commons Search

“Find content that you can share, use and remix.” Just make sure you leave checked the checkboxes for ‘commercial purposes’ and ‘modify, adapt…’
http://search.creativecommons.org/

New Old Stock

Some amazing photos from times gone by, this site pulls from the public archives.
http://nos.twnsnd.co/

Pic Jumbo

Another site with free photos for you use.
http://picjumbo.com/

SplitShire

This fellow asks for attribution or a donation for coffee via his website if you want to use the photos he offers. He has some great images that would be well worth it.
http://splitshire.com/

Pixabay

A repository for free public domain images.
http://pixabay.com/

Little Visuals

You can sign up via email to get 7 free images delivered to your inbox so that you can start building your own library of stock photography.
http://littlevisuals.co/

Unsplash

Similar to Little Visuals, except that this site sends you 10 photos a day. They all tend to be on the awesome side of great.
http://unsplash.com/

Fin

Speaking of free coffee, if you enjoyed this blog post and would like to see more like it, send me a little donation!