Quit Stealing! Copyright Fair Use and How it Works for Online Images

You’ve heard the adage that a picture is worth a thousand words, but when that picture is protected by copyright, the picture is only worth three words: cease and desist. OK, that’s kind of a lawyer joke. But it illustrates how protective people are about finding their images used online without permission. Copyright laws were established not to give the author the right to deny their work to other people, but instead to encourage its creation. Article I, Section 8, clause 8, of the United States Constitution states the purpose of copyright laws is “to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.” It’s a delicate balance between the rights of the creator and the public’s interest. When in conflict, the balance tips more heavily toward the public’s interest, which is often contrary to what the creator believes to be fair or just. This article will cover exactly what copyright is and what it covers. And then we’ll look at the concept of fair use as it pertains to using images online. The goal here is to better understand how to use images others create in a way that is both respectful of the author’s ownership rights and allows others to use it. Read the full article »


5 Tips for Creating Video and Audio Content With Your iPhone

Interested in adding fresh, compelling content to your non-profit’s website? If you have an iPhone (or similar smartphone device), you can capture great audio, pictures and video with ease! Read the full article »

Tech Rewind – November 28-December 2

How to Set Up a Google+ Page for Your Business
Google+ has opened the doors for business and brand pages. In this article I show you how to set up your Google+ page and provide examples. If you haven’t already created a personal Google+ profile for yourself, you’ll need to do that first (you cannot simply sign up a business page from the main Google+ signup screen).  Read the full article »

5 Reasons Your [Non-Profit] Should Be Blogging
Does your business blog? Have you been thinking it might be time to consider a blog, but aren’t sure (a) you can pull it off and (b) it will provide value? Keep reading. This article will help you (or someone you know) understand the value of a business blog.  Read the full article »

Facebook Launches Revamped Insights Tool for Business Pages
Marketers of the world, today was a good day. Upon logging into your Facebook business page, you may have noticed a little box pop up that read, “Introducing New Insights for Pages.” (This is the point where you realized today was a good day.) The revamped insights feature comes fully loaded with metrics that are truly insightful and can help you super-charge your Facebook marketing. Here’s how. Read the full article »

15 Ways to Bring Social Media to Events

Do you host events or informal gatherings? Social media enables event attendees to connect in powerful ways. Social media can help promote events and empower attendees to share. This article will reveal 15 ways you can infuse social media into your events. Read the full article »

Understanding Facebook Users

Ever wonder what Facebook users “Like” and why? This infographic shows us that a majority of “Liking” engagement on Facebook comes in the form of wall posts, pictures, and comments. As a non-profit, these are already three of the most powerful and easily accessible tools in social media. Facebook Likes Infographic

Shopping Smart on Black Friday and Cyber Monday

4am. 2am. Midnight. Now some shops are even opening up at 9pm on Thanksgiving Day. They’re two of the biggest shopping days of the year; Black Friday and Cyber Monday both offer countless deals, some that seem too good to be true. If you’ll be doing sopping on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, here are some tips to stay safe and avoid scammers and hackers. (Click the image for a full-size view.)Black Friday & Cyber Monday Scams

Tech Rewind – November 14-18

7 Things Nonprofits Can Talk About on Facebook Besides Themselves 
Recently I met with a client who was sensitive about what they posted on Facebook, because they not only had privacy issues to be concerned with of their constituents, but they didn’t think that the other things they do would be applicable to their fans on Facebook. In other words they didn’t think that their fans on Facebook cared about what their organization was doing other than fundraising.

But there are other things besides press opportunities and fundraising or awareness events that your fans are interested in learning more about. As I’ve talked about before, social media is about being social, so when you talk only about yourself or your organization, it gets old quickly. Spice it up. Here’s a list of 7 things a nonprofit can talk about on Facebook besides themselves. Read the full article »

How to Hold a Google+ Hangout and Why You Should
As Google’s latest foray into social media, Google+ has brought some new tools to the digital table. My personal favorite is Hangouts. Google describes Hangouts as a “front porch.” Anyone can drop in and say “hi” just like anyone could drop by when you’re on your porch.  Read the full article »

Slow Computer? Speed It Up With MSConfig!

Is your computer running slower than molasses on a sub-zero Wisconsin winter day? Chances are, there are probably a dozen or more programs that run when your computer starts up, almost none of which you use or even need. Learn how to disable unnecessary startup programs us Windows’ MSConfig utility. (Note: Ensure you stick to the Startup tab, as disabling programs in the Services tab can cause your computer to become unresponsive and crash.)

Tech Tidbits: Special Edition

Drop everything and listen (or look)! The Greater Menomonie Area Chamber of Commerce has this great annual program called The Apprentice: Dunn, and you should be taking advantage it!

In a nutshell, The Apprentice: Dunn matches teams of students from CVTC and UW-Stout with area businesses and organizations (that’s you!) to solve real-world business problems. What does that mean exactly? Well, it’s never too early to start planning for next year’s big fundraiser. So why not participate in The Apprentice: Dunn and work with some super-talented marketing and event-planning students to get a shiny new marketing plan?! It’s a win-win: the students gain the real-world experience they need, and you get a new promotional plan (or a website or market research or a plan for global expansion to Asia). Perfect!

Still skeptical? Check out the Chamber’s Apprentice: Dunn business application for more info and specifics. Have a specific idea in mind, but you’re not quite sure whether it’s a good fit for the Apprentice: Dunn program? Interested in applying but not quite sure where to start? Give Tyler a call at 715-232-1328, and he’ll be more than happy to help you fill out the application, do some brainstorming for project ideas, etc. But hurry, because the deadline for applications is Novemer 18, 2011! So what’re you waiting for?!

Why Your Password Sucks (And How to Make It Better)

It’s something each of us uses every day, and we all probably have one (or a few) that we recycle over and over again. No, I’m not talking about bad jokes; I’m talking about passwords. They’re vital to the security of any system, but are often used incorrectly. Here are some password guidelines to live by:

First of all, forget most everything you know about passwords. As illustrated in this exceptionally hilarious techie nerd comic, for the past 20 years, we’ve been teaching people to create passwords that are difficult for humans to remember but easy for computers to guess. Password Strength Comic by XKCD

What’s important to remember when it comes to password strength, bigger is better. The longer the password, the more time it would take for someone (say a misguided computer nerd with too much time on his hands) to guess your password. As illustrated, a four-word long password (about 20 characters) would take about 550 years to guess—and it’s a TON easier to remember!

Here are the steps to create your new, super-strength password (adapted from Microsoft’s page on password strength):

  1. Take four random words (for example: correct horse battery staple)
  2. Remove the spaces to create your password (for example: correcthorsebatterystaple)
  3. Capitalize the first letter of each word (for example: CorrectHorseBatteryStaple)
  4. Run over to Microsoft’s Password Checker to test your new password’s strength
  5. Voila! You’re finished! If you’re a super security nut, feel free to add some numbers or punctuation for good measure.

Now that you’ve made your super-strength password, keep these general password guidelines in mind:

  • Don’t use the same password for everything. Cybercriminals steal passwords on websites with very little security, and then they try to use that same password and user name in more secure environments, such as banking websites.
  • Change your passwords often. Set an automatic reminder for yourself to change your passwords on your email, banking, and credit card websites about every three months.
  • The greater the variety of characters in your password, the better. However, password hacking software automatically checks for common letter-to-symbol conversions, such as changing “and” to “&” or “to” to “2.”
  • Avoid using sequences or repeated characters (for example: 12345678, 222222, abcdefg, or adjacent letters on your keyboard (qwerty).
  • Avoid using personal information when creating your password (for example: your name, birthday, driver’s license, passport number, or similar information).
  • The easiest way to “remember” passwords is to write them down. It is okay to write passwords down, but keep the written passwords in a secure place.