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Welcome to Day 2 of Good Etiquette for the Modern Blogger revisited!

Today we welcome Laura Jane from Needles, Pins & Baking Tins. I grew to know Laura-Jane last year when we were in the modern Christmas swap together. She was a fan of my work and I was a fan of hers. Since then I’ve grown to even more appreciate her awesome creativity & taste in fabric.
On several occasions recently Laura has helped me out with technical questions. Usually I just smile and nod and pretend I understand when people talk to me about technical stuff (just ask Mr Flutter) but Laura explains it well.
So thank you for sharing some of your knowledge with us today Laura! It’s lovely to have you to visit 🙂

Hi, I’m Laura Jane. I blog at Needles, Pins and Baking Tins, and have done so for about a year and a half. Kat asked me to write something for this series however, because of my day job. I am a “techie”… I’m a programmer, who writes database software. While my job doesn’t actually involve a lot of work programming on the web, I’d like to think I can make a fairly well informed opinion, and thought I would share that with you today. Please note the following is just that. My opinion. I’ve thrown a few facts in for good measure, but I’m just saying… I don’t profess to be an expert….
1.       Passwords

People talk about password strength and password safety, but what does it really mean?

Password strength determines how well your password can prevent a dictionary, or brute force, attack. There are online password strength checkers, were you can test your chosen password, and I advise that you do so. Fact: any password can be guessed by a dictionary attack. It is just a matter of time. In an idea world people would have 32-bit passwords, comprised of the full range of ASCII characters (i.e. upper and lower case letters, numbers and special characters), which would offer the most security. This, however, is not possible because you’d never remember it! So, pick something as secure as possible, hopefully making use of the full range of characters available and please please please don’t use the same one for all your accounts! If you must do this, have a high strength password “stub” which you can remember, and then add something to, to make it unique for each site.

If you need a scare tactic example, I accidentally locked out my own laptop last week (keys were sticky and I didn’t know… I changed the password then it wasn’t what I thought it was next time I logged in, doh!). I downloaded a completely free piece of software from a completely legitimate and public source, burnt it to a disk, and within 3 minutes of running it had guessed my password o_0!!

2.       Sharing Personal Information

There is a lot of hoo-har these days about sharing too much, too little, and what medium it is shared by. I think as bloggers, we inevitably share quite a lot of information about ourselves, on a daily basis. We send our home addresses to people for the purpose of Bee’s and swaps. They sit there in a Google doc on a server somewhere, or downloaded to the Bee Mama’s pc, and who knows what could happen to it. My personal view is to just chillax about most of that. The quilty people are a trustworthy type. And if a bunch of you turn up at my door unannounced to raid my stash and steal my sewing machine, well I might just give it to you for the effort! But still, it does make you ponder how much of yourself is out there for the world to see. The stuff that matters to me is the stuff that I might share unknowingly.

Facebook is a bad one for assuming you want to share everything, in the absence of a decision either way. I like to keep my Facebook as a personal thing. I vet who I am friends with, and mostly just use it for old school friends and people I actually know/like/hangout with in person. Nothing on my Facebook profile can be seen by people who I am not friends with, and that’s the way I like it.

I decided, the other day, to have a little look at what information Google had on me. Evidently since I blog using blogger, it would have all that information, but I was actually shocked when I saw all the other stuff they kept. A great way of looking at all the information they have on you is through the dashboard.

It lists all their “applications” and all the data they hold for your user account, for each application. I implore you to go have a look. I ended up removing a whole bunch of personal information from there that I just didn’t want anyone and everyone to be able to see.

3.       Your photographs.

Ever since the big pinterest debacle, I have noticed a few bloggers putting up little blurbs on their do’s and don’ts for their images. I wholeheartedly support them, and agree that if the photo is yours, you should be able to dictate what it is and isn’t used for. However, this all relies on trust. Fact: there is absolutely no way to stop people taking and using your photos for whatever they want.

Sure you can take steps to prevent it, if you are that way inclined.  If you use flickr, you can stop people downloading or sharing your photos (go to the privacy and permissions page in account settings You can even stick some javascript code into your blog which will disable right clicking on images, meaning people won’t be able to use the “save target as..” or “save image as…” function on their browser (if anyone want this, I can write it for you, just send me an email). But…. And this is a big ol’ but….. people can still take a screenshot of your page, OR view the raw html and find the image link in it, OR find it in their cached temporary internet files. So, really, you are fighting a losing battle. It isn’t all doom and gloom though, I mean, would you steal a photo from someone’s site without asking? Didn’t think so. Most people are trustworthy folk. Most people would ask first. Or link to your site. Or at least credit the image. Which leads me nicely into…

4.       Ettiquette

I don’t plan to go into a whole lot of detail on web etiquette, or netiquette, as there will be others who do; I just wanted to weigh in on a couple of subjects.

Firstly, it’s 100% okay not to like something. Not everyone can like everything all the time. But it’s important to remember the pneumonic, DBAD i.e. Don’t be a dick. The best thing to say, if you don’t like something, is nothing. Not one word. Because one word can really ruin someone’s day. If someone poops on your party (lol), the best thing to do is to just delete the comment, and forget it ever happened. If it incites a reaction from you, negative or otherwise, you have played right into their hands. Occasionally, I have been known to break out my sword of wit and take them for all they are worth, but I always feel guilty afterwards, so it’s best just to let sleeping trolls lie.

Lastly, we are all, by nature, creative people. I think its 100% possible that 2 people can have the exact same idea at the exact same time. (And really, what constitutes a new idea anyway? Most things have been done in one way or another at some point throughout history) That being said, if it’s not an original idea and you know it, you really should credit the person it came from.  Imitation is sincerest of flattery, and I’m sure the original idea’s creator would love to know you have inspired them. Likewise, I’m sure your followers will think nothing less of you for crediting your inspiration.

Thank you Kat, for letting me share here today, and thank you all for reading! I wish you many a happy bloggy year :o)


Thanks again Laura!!
And I hope you found that useful guys. And I hope you’ll go and take a visit to Laura’s beautiful blog!

You might like to now go back and read Post 1 from the first etiquette series now by Angela from Cut to Pieces.

If you’d like to link to the series from your blog that would be fantastic and much appreciated. In that case there is a blog button down the left of my blog which you can pick up the code to. Thanks.

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  1. Fab post. The other week I wanted to copy the HTML code for a QAL button from the hosts blog, but they had the right click function disabled so I went back onto flickr and asked how I was supposed to copy the code they’d made available and they said they had no idea – just that other people had and they really didn’t want to disable the right click function because they didn’t want people copying stuff from their blog. Fair point. Until someone commented under my comment to say oh just highlight the code and use ‘CRTL C’ – job done and more proof that there always seems to be ways round stuff.

  2. All great points missus. We’re in the middle of testing software for passwords at the moment – we will ultimately be requiring the end users to use at least one of each of the following to make up an 8 character password: upper case letters, lower case letters, numbers and symbols. Whilst you’re probably thinking ‘Ugh, that’s so much hassle’ it is, in combination with a dictionary of words they can’t select, eg Psword1!, pretty secure.

    All I’d implore people to do is not use your family’s or pets’ names, SO easy to access from your blog/facebook, also don’t use anyone’s date of birth, or phone numbers, all are easy to work out.

    I actually have one set of passwords for ‘play’ sites, and another several for ‘secure’ sites. Whilst I don’t much mind if someone hacks my Teddy Bears And Friends forum account, meaning they can now access my photography forum account, I would mind if it meant someone could then hack my e-mail…

    Oh wait, you didn’t ask for an essay reply did you? Sorry…

  3. Please, please, please don’t turn off right clicking! This severely damages usability (users can no longer right click on links and open them in a new tab, for example) and prevents some accessibility features used by the disabled from being usable. Additionally, right clicking on an image hasn’t been the standard way to save images for at least 5 years — you can just left-click on any image and drag it into any folder on your desktop.

    In short, it doesn’t prevent people from saving images but it does prevent a subset of people from reading your blog ad you will lose readers.

  4. Thank you for all this. The thing is that one could probably safely write down all their hobby internet complex passwords and keep them at home. A real life burglar is unlikely to want to hack their blog.

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