Social Media for Storytellers, Part 2

Contents

Contents. 1

It Might Change!. 1

Corrections from Last Session. 1

Backups. 1

Extra Security. 1

Two Factor Authentication. 1

Computer Remembers Password. 2

Friends for Account Recovery. 2

Legacy. 2

Pictures and Posters. 2

Image Sizes. 2

Typical File Sizes. 2

File Formats. 3

PDF, Portable Document Format. 3

BMP, BitMap. 3

GIF, Graphics Interchange Format PNG, Portable Network Graphics  3

JPG or JPEG,  Joint Photographic Experts Group. 3

JPG Artifacts. 3

MP4. 3

Programs. 4

MicroSoft Picture Editor. 4

IrfanView.. 4

Canva.com.. 4

More Website Advice. 4

Does the Theme Work in All Conditions?. 4

Email Junk vs Unsubscribe. 4

Reading URLs for Storytellers (Techies will say it’s over-simplified.)  4

How to Spot a Fake Site. 5

If You Think You Were Tricked. 5

Email Courtesy, Subject Lines Sandy’s Soapbox. 5

 

It Might Change!

They call it Continuous Improvement. Everything I say is accurate as of when I last looked it up. Some things, like typical file sizes, are based on my experience. They’re “in the ballpark”.

Corrections from Last Session

Google can search some FaceBook pages. Even so, I don’t recommend them as your main site. Many people see FaceBook and, due to previous bad experiences, don’t bother clicking. Even if they do, FaceBook is very aggressive (aka rude) about encouraging them to join.

Backups

A backup on the same machine is not a backup. Computers die. Hard drives fizzle. The store that copies your data to your new computer might make a mistake.

I like SecondCopy with a cheap external hard drive. Carbonite is also good.

Extra Security

Two Factor Authentication

For most purposes, a password is enough. Sometimes, however, more is worth the hassle.

Two Factor Authentication combines two methods of proving your identity. (James Bond breaks into secret room.)

The first method is usually a password, same as usual. The second method is usually your cell phone. The website sends a text to your phone, such as a code that you then type into the website. Sometimes it’s “click here” or something else. Of course, programmers can be imaginative. Read the instructions.

Sometimes they ask for the second factor at random, or if you want to change important settings (such as the password). Often, they just let send a text or email about the unusual activity, and instructions to follow if it wasn’t you. Being on a different computer is unusual activity.

Check all email addresses that you give as alternates regularly, if only to be sure you remember the password.

If you use a small email service, use a different service for their emergencies. If onebit.ca is down, the techs can’t email me at sandy@onebit.ca.

Keep the same cell number if you possibly can. Keep track of which sites use which alternate email addresses and cell numbers, so you can change them if necessary.

Do not use two factor authentications if losing your phone means you cannot ever again access your account. Most sites now let you set three factors, then use any two.

Computer Remembers Password

Your computer or browser will happily remember your password for most sites. I don’t recommend this for important sites.

If anyone steals your computer, they can get in.

If the computer remembers it, then you don’t. (“My email doesn’t have a password. My son set it up.”)

There are many different ways a site can tell your browser to remember a password. Some store it in a human-readable file called a cookie. Others are more complicated.

Recently, browsers added good password systems. You need to enter the master password.

Unfortunately, it isn’t easy to tell which method is being used.

For important sites, I use a separate program, with its own master password, and copy and paste the password to the website. (I like SplashID, but there are many other good ones. Most now make automatic backups to different device. If the first one dies, you still have a copy.)

For unimportant sites, I let the computer remember (but still keep a record in case my computer dies).

If it signs you in automatically, and you don’t want it to:

  1. Log out. Then log in again, but watch for a checkbox for “remember me”.
  2. If that doesn’t work, look under Settings.
  3. If that doesn’t work, search Google for “sitename forget password”. But! Once you find instructions, do not click on any helpful links, unless you know how to read URLs. They might go to a fake site. Instead, follow the instructions to use the menus.

Friends for Account Recovery

FaceBook lets you choose friends to help you recover your account. Choose who can read instructions (which will change), and discuss it with them first.

If you cannot recover your password the usual way, you can ask FaceBook to ask your friend. You should also call your friend and let them know it’s coming. (I ignore all emails from FaceBook.)

Legacy

FaceBook lets you choose an executor. Again, this should be someone who uses FaceBook and can read the instructions. They will have several choices.

Pictures and Posters

Image Sizes

An image has three size numbers: Inches, Pixels, and File.

Inches. This number is almost useless when discussing image files. A five-inch picture looks great on your desktop, but not on your cell. Any file can be expanded or shrunk to any number of inches.

Number of Pixels. A pixel is a dot. PPI is pixels per inch. Old fax machines were 96 ppi vertically. (That standard was removed in 1996.) A typical cell phone is only 225 ppi. Your home printer is usually 100-300. High quality printers can be 1000 ppi or higher.

File Size. More pixels means a larger file, but it gets more complicated. Saying each dot is black or white takes very little data. Saying which colour out of thousands takes more. Those files can get huge! JPG compresses data and also leaves data out, to make the file smaller.

Typical File Sizes

There is a huge range!

  • 1000-8000 KB (1-8 MB) : camera; can be enlarged to 8×10 inches or larger
  • 250 KB, 1024×768 pixels : picture in newsletter to print
  • 40 KB, 450×340 pixels : website
  • 10 KB, 160×160 pixels : email “good enough”
  • 000,000 KB (1000 MB, 1GB)) : $30 of cell phone data.
  • 500 KB : book from the city’s e-library.

Most sites will let you put up a huge file, and then compress (and lose quality) before storing. Don’t delete the original.

File Formats

For now, I recommend sharing posters as JPG if you have a choice. This is because most sites will display thumbnails and allow minor editing for JPGS, but not PDFs.  (Others recommend PDFs, since they print well and are easier to make.)

It is possible to convert in either direction. It takes about 5 minutes, including opening the program. Quality varies with program. Quality is lost with each conversion.

PDF, Portable Document Format

This is designed for printing to paper. To make a PDF, you usually create the document in another program, and then Save As PDF or Print To PDF.

What you see on the screen is exactly what you get on the paper. Pictures, fonts and line breaks do not change.

You’d think this is good for posters, but, since most sites don’t work nicely with it, it isn’t.

PDF is a container format. You can put anything in it. Text, with “use this font” and “line break here.” A picture of text. (That’s why you can select text in some PDFS but not others.) A JPG. A PDF. Instructions to draw lines and shapes.

Some PDF creator programs shrink image file sizes. Others don’t. I’ve seen PDF files with 4MB because a 1-inch picture wasn’t shrunk.

BMP, BitMap

This is simple. List the colour of each dot in order. Black, white, white, red, red, red, red, red, red, red, red.

GIF, Graphics Interchange Format
PNG, Portable Network Graphics

These compress images by looking for patterns in the data. They do not lose information.  Black, white, white, red x 8.

Both can be animated.

JPG or JPEG,
Joint Photographic Experts Group

This is the most common image format. All amateur cameras use it.

It uses both lossless and lossy methods. Yes, data is lost when jpgs are saved. The amount that is lost varies with settings. Always work on a copy!

The full JPG spec has a few dozen settings. (Dad used to design hardware to convert JPG files to images, and told me all about it.) Most of the settings are hidden. More-expensive programs let you adjust more of them. Some work better for seascapes, with large areas of subtly-different blue. Others work better for the group picture at your family reunion, or lots of dull colours, or the night sky, or sunsets.

None of that matters to storytellers, unless they wonder why different programs give different results.

JPG Artifacts

JPG is designed for photos, not drawings. In a photo, there are never huge areas of a solid colour. There are always shadows or texture. So, if the file says it’s a huge area of a solid colour, the program doesn’t believe it, and puts in dots of something it thinks makes sense.

MP4

This is a container format, so can hold just about anything. Cell phones use it, usually for video and audio.

Programs

MicroSoft Picture Editor

Free with Windows 7, or maybe the one before. I use this most of the time. Decent autocorrect and colour balancing. Quick file size settings.

IrfanView

To edit and save pictures. An old favourite among techies. Converts anything to anything. Can adjust many settings, but keeps most of them a bit hidden. The RIOT plugin allows bulk resizing and renaming.

Canva.com

(Yes, without the S.) An online graphics design site that looks promising. All the work is done online.  You can then print the result, download the file in several different formats, or send the address directly to another site. Several people, each with their own account, can edit (or look at) a document before you publish.  Unfortunately, you need an account to read their help files.

Has anyone used it? If not, I will test it for my next project.

More Website Advice

Does the Theme Work in All Conditions?

  • Print (Readable? Wasted ink? Wasted space?)
  • Sunlight
  • Small screen. Medium screen. (Some are good on phones and monitors, but bad on tablets.)
  • Black and white
  • Colour-blind? (10% of the population.)

Audience needs will vary depending on the audience and content. Observe them!

Directions are often printed, or read on a phone in a moving car driving into the sunset. Articles about the school choir will be printed for Grandma (who doesn’t have a computer). Articles about a great storyteller will be printed and put on the school bulletin board, or emailed and read on phones between classes, or when waiting for the doctor.

***If you find a situation when the Baden site doesn’t work, let me know.

Email Junk vs Unsubscribe

Junk is for email that most people will think is junk or spam or a scam.

Unsubscribe is for email that you don’t want, but others might, such as Joe’s Baby Supply Warehouse

When you mark something as spam, your email service learns that you don’t want that type of mail, and puts similar mail directly in your Junk folder, where it stays for about a month before being deleted.

You should review your junk folder weekly. Sometimes the spam filters are too aggressive.

Email service share information with each other.  If enough people say that Joe sends spam, then Joe will be blocked for everyone. This is unfair to Joe and the people who want his letters.

So, unsubscribe.

On the other hand, if it’s a scam, then sending back Unsubscribe just proves that you exist, so they’ll send you more.

About 20% of mail marked as Junk should have been Unsubscribed. A few mistakes on your part won’t hurt, but overall it’s better to do it right.

Reading URLs for Storytellers
(Techies will say it’s over-simplified.)

URL = Uniform Resource Locator, aka Website Address. Very similar to URI and URN.

Format:

scheme://
subdomain.domain.top-level-domain/
codes

Scheme: How to open the file. E.g., http (hypertext transfer protocol, aka a web browser), https (hypertext transfer protocol secure, a bit more secure than http), mailto (plus email address), irc (Internet Relay Chat).

If you leave out the scheme, the server will assume http.

Subdomain. Can be infinite layers of sub-sub-sub-domains. Sometimes not exactly a domain. “www” means world-wide-web.

Most servers no longer need www, but humans are used to it. Servers should assume or ignore, but older sites might not.

Domain. Usually the company name.

Top Level Domain. Usually the country. They recently said anyone (with money) can buy one.

After the next slash are instructions to the server. Sometimes they can be read by humans.

If there is no slash, the server returns the front page of the site.

  • wordpress.com/search=events
  • wordpress.com/2016
    (all diary entries in 2016)
  • wikipedia.org/wiki/
    Domain_name#Top-level_domains

How to Spot a Fake Site

Real banks rarely include their web address. They make you look it up. They will not ask for your password or mother’s maiden name. (They have master passwords.)

Fake banks helpfully give you a link. Click here to see a site that looks like your bank, and enter your password. Phone here to speak with our reps who will ask for your password (or you email address and high school mascot).

Look for the last two words before the slash.
.yourbank.com/

Anyone can create

  • accounts.scarywords.yourbank.mysite.com
  • yourbank.mysite.com/yourname

Only your bank can create

  • accounts.yourbank.com

There are other ways, but this is the most common.

If You Think You Were Tricked

Telephone your bank (or accountant, or police, or city tax office) immediately. Use the number in the phone book. Do not wait until there is a problem.

I do all my banking online, but use a bank with a branch in my city. If there is a problem, I take my ID to the bank and talk with a human.

Email Courtesy, Subject Lines
Sandy’s Soapbox

I often receive over 30 email a day. Some are flyers that I can’t filter out or unsubscribe without losing my account statement.

Most are conversations held over weeks, with information I will use in several months from. (I co-ordinate multi-volunteer projects.)

Some subject lines are on the next page.

Subject lines should contain the group and project name, and the date if it’s a recurring event.

Change the subject line if you change the topic. Use separate emails for each project (within reason).

Include the project name, either on the subject line or in the body. If I misfile it (sadly common), I can still search for it. Especially important it’s about more than one project. I can only file it in one place.

If there are minor changes between this and a previous version of a document, highlight the changes, and say what was deleted (or I won’t correct my calendar).

 

I have five minutes between meetings, and won’t be home until late.

From Subject Notes
Susan Needlecraft Is the crochet class tonight, or next week?
Nicole Hi! Russian Princess (or is it Nicole the choir parent asking for a ride?)
Cathy Schedule Updated choir concert and rehearsal schedule, 15 events.
Is it the same she sent every week since December? Or has it changed?Or is it the instructions for tomorrow’s concert. Mike is stage manager.
Beve Website Which one? Beve is in three groups with me.
(Actually, Beve is good about subject lines.)
Susan Schedule Needlecraft teacher’s travel plans for fall 2017.

I don’t start that project until June!

Cathy Auction Poster to send to my friends.
Cathy Auction Urgent question about my donation.
Mark Lesson change
Anne BSG Agenda April Tonight’s meeting.
Anastasia Storyteller wanted for school Real email.
Fred Your school needs you. Urgent! Chaperones for next month, for an event my daughter isn’t going on.
Beve Guelph Guelph Needlecraft or Guelph Storytellers

or something about the city?

Anne Meeting tomorrow Life insurance. Change of location. Yes, she’s also named Anne.
Hans This week’s meeting The one we just had, or the coming one?
Betty Dec  Class This can wait. Betty wants to teach a Christmas class next year.
Or is it about something in May? She Replied to an old email and didn’t change the subject line.

 

 

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