Category Archives: Ask the Expert!

A reader-submitted tech question that gets answered by me and featured in Tech Tidbits.

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 »

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.)

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.

How to Combine QR Codes With the Power of Facebook

Are you looking to leverage the popularity of QR (Quick Response) codes with the wide-spread adoption of Facebook? Over the past several months, QR codes have inserted themselves squarely into digital media conversation (even appearing on late-night TV). In this article, I’ll unpack how to get your QR codes to go viral on Facebook. I’ll start by walking you through the process and an example campaign, and conclude with an analytical discussion examining five need-to-know success factors. Read the full article »

How to Secure Your Facebook Account

You’ve created your Facebook account. You update your Facebook page regularly with some great content. But what about security? Facebook has decent security built-in, but there are quite a few steps you can take to ensure your account is as secure as possible. In this post by the web security gurus over at ESet, author Cameron Camp covers the full breadth of Facebook privacy settings, including Facebook check-ins, third-party applications, login nuances and devices. He also shows users how to best secure their profile to avoid being hacked. Some of his suggestions make use of little-known security features. Read the full article »

How to Measure Your Facebook Page’s Success

You have created a Facebook Fan Page. Now what? I bet these questions come to mind: “Is my page a success?” “Who is engaging with us?” “Is our engagement effective?” “Does our content strategy work?”

The Facebook Insights dashboard will help you answer some of these questions. As defined by Facebook, “Insights provides Facebook Page owners … with metrics around their content. By understanding and analyzing trends within user growth and demographics, consumption of content, and creation of content, Page owners … are better equipped to improve their business with Facebook.” Read the rest of this entry

Deleting a Post from Your Facebook Wall

So, you’ve been updating your Facebook page regularly, painstakingly perfecting each status update. And then, BAM! A spammer posts some ugly thing advertising a “free” iPad or some shady Canadian Pharmacy. Have no fear, friend, because today we’re going to learn how to delete a post from your Facebook Wall. Read the rest of this entry

Updating Your Organization’s Facebook Page

Now that you’ve learned what a Facebook Page is and how to make one for your organization, it’s time to engage your audience! Let’s get posting! Read the rest of this entry

Facebook Pages 101

Facebook Pages 101: What the Heck is a Facebook Page?!

According to Facebook,  “a Facebook Page gives a voice to any public figure or organization to join the conversation with their audience on Facebook.” Wait, what? Let’s clarify. Facebook Pages allow official organizations (like your non-profit) to engage with their customers (and potential customers, and volunteers, and donors) on Facebook; pages allow your non-profit to share updates, photos, stories, etc., with your volunteers, donors, and supporters. A Facebook Page is different than a personal Facebook profile; Facebook Pages are for businesses, non-profits, bands, and other organizations, whereas profiles are for individual people. Pages are also different from groups (find out the specifics here).

Read the rest of this entry