#BirdCam : A Social Media Experiment

#BirdCam : A Social Media Experiment

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Robin and Nest Favorite 1

My kids spotted a robin’s nest in our yard.
It was inside one of our sheds.
Hmm… a light bulb flickered to life.
Wouldn’t this be a great way to showcase what you can do with technology,
websites, and the power of social networking.

Within a day I had a webcam mounted watching the nest and uploading pictures directly to a server.

By the next day my staff helped create an amazing website in record time. (We are all having fun with this.)

The result: http://birdcam.ca/

The website is still evolving with favorite pictures and viewing the photo archives coming online within a day.

Why go through all this effort to do this you ask? Partially because “we can”, also because “it’s cool”, and also it is an “experiment”.

Experiment? How so?

We wanted to see how fast we could create a brand new website, with unique content being generated for us (thank you mother nature), how “viral” could we make it, and see where it leads. Unfortunately much of the content online these days in the social networking world is what I call “noise”. Who cares what you ate for breakfast or what you are wearing. Also many people retweet/republish/repost other people’s content. Noise noise noise. It is difficult to come by brand new unique content.

Robin and Nest Favorite 2

Sites like what we have created have many possible applications. For instance what if we watched the construction of your brand new house being built. You could see it evolve, check on it anytime you wanted, and then a neat bonus with something being built is time lapse videos! Having a picture taken on a regular basis from a consistant location is ideal for compiling such amazing videos.

We are getting recommendations from people and implementing new features as quickly as we can during this experiment. The experiment will be over in the next 3 weeks after the eggs are hatched and the new born robins all fly away. We want to see where things end up at the end of this timeframe and how viral it gets.

Right now I as I write this I am enjoying watching the realtime logs on our webserver going nuts with new visitors and people refreshing their browsers.

Please check out the website http://birdcam.ca/ and invite your friends and contacts to do so as well. If you are on twitter, the hashtag is #BIRDCAM

And check back frequently near June 1st which is the current best guestimate we have on when the eggs may begin hatching.

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Online Banking Security

Online Banking Security

Even though online banking may seem risky, it is absolutely safe to conduct all of your banking online every day. Millions of people do their banking online and feel safe doing so. Do you think that online banking is safe? Let’s explore some of the ways to keep online banking safe and your sensitive information secure.

Thieves can access your account by tricking you into thinking that you’re logging into your account when you’re not. This is called phishing. So how do they do it? They simply send you an email that instructs you to log into your online account to change your information or verify a purchase through a link in the email. Avoid clicking on this link in every instance. Always access your online banking through a bookmark created by you or by typing in the URL in your browser.

Ignore any and all requests that ask you to send your personal information via email. Usernames, passwords, PIN numbers, account information and credit card numbers can easily be read and intercepted by a third party since email is usually unencrypted. This information is also stored on servers, which can become compromised and read by thieves.

Ensure that all of the web pages that you visit are secure when you are online banking. You will know that a web page is encrypted when you see a small padlock symbol appear in the bottom right corner of the window or beside the address bar and URL at the top of the web page. If this symbol does not appear, assume that the web page is not secure. Avoid entering your username and password and log off immediately.

Be aware of where you log into your bank online. At work, your computer may have key loggers installed on it or your company may be using other methods to monitor your actions and access your login information while you’re online. Since wireless networks can be intercepted and read by a third party, ensure that the wireless network is secure using WPA. Avoid logging into your account from your friend’s computer or an unfamiliar computer. Usernames and passwords can be stored and used to access your personal information.

Use a strong password for logging into your bank online. Avoid using a password that thieves can guess easily, such as your pet’s name or a 1234 combination. Your banking password should contain a mixture of numbers, special characters, and capitalization. In other words, your password should be difficult for thieves to guess.

Ensure that you install virus software on your personal computer to keep it protected from potential thieves. A thief can infect your computer and install a key logger that keeps track of each keystroke that you enter on your computer. Your username, password and other confidential information could be captured.

Online banking is safe. All you need to do is take the right precautions to ensure that you keep your account information secure every time you log into your bank. If you are aware of the potential dangers, you will be able to do your online banking safely and securely.

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Preventing Laptop Theft

Preventing Laptop Theft

Laptop theft is a serious threat to every person who owns one. What do you use to protect your laptop from potential thieves? It’s important to protect your laptop as you can lose hardware, software, and data that you may not have backed up. Thieves can have access to sensitive and personal information that will provide them with ways to steal your identity.

Laptops are becoming more widely used by companies and individuals because they allow you to be more productive while you’re on the go. Laptop theft is now on the rise and organizations as well as individuals are being affected by this crime. This also leads to potential data breaches that can affect employees, customers and reputations. Laptop theft is also the second highest cause of financial loss.

There are ways to protect your laptop and the sensitive information on it. Methods of protecting laptops and intellectual information have been developed to prevent theft. Alarms, cables, and laptop locks prevent potential thieves from simply walking away with your laptop in tow. Visual deterrents, such as STOP security plates are very difficult to remove, and they can also destroy the resale value. These methods are great ways to prevent laptops from being stolen.

You can lose your hardware, software, and sensitive data that you have not saved or backed up elsewhere. In addition, thieves may also have access to sensitive data and personal information if it isn’t encrypted. Some systems authorize access based on credentials stored on the laptop, including MAC addresses, Internet browser cookies, cryptographic keys, and stored passwords. In the absence of security measures, thieves can access information such as bookkeeping files, Word documents containing passwords and employee and customer information.

Use unique passwords and more advanced technological security precautions, such as Remote Laptop Security (RLS) that is designed to secure data and important information even if the laptop is not in the trusted hands of its owner. With RLS, the owner of a laptop can reject access rights to the stolen laptop from any computer.

Remember to secure your laptop and protect it from potential thieves. If you have important company information or files stored on your laptop, ensure that it is password protected and encrypted. More importantly, ensure that you back up all of your information on your laptop and keep it safe.

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How to Keep Your Business Safe Online

How to Keep Your Business Safe Online

The Internet is a great tool and resource for your business but viruses, identity theft and online fraud can place your business at risk. The best way to protect your business is through prevention. Multi-layered defenses, staff training, policies and business-class computers are what you need to be safe online.

Take a look at your IT security, including your hardware, software, staff, and policies. Think ahead and make a plan to prevent fraud, viruses, data loss, and identity theft. If you think that you can make some improvements, start making all of the necessary changes to ensure the utmost safety for your business. Consider what you most need to protect and what you need to ensure that your business operates.

Theft is more likely to occur than hacking. It’s a good idea to use cable locks to ensure that your PCs and laptops are secure when they aren’t in use. Make sure that office windows and doors have sturdy locks and install an alarm system if you don’t already have one. Consider storing a backup of data away from the office just in case. It may also be useful to write a list of serial numbers to recover any stolen hardware.

Protect your computers by installing security software, including firewall, anti-virus, anti-spyware, and anti-spam protection. Also ensure that all of your software is kept up-to-date. You should also protect your company’s information by encrypting any wireless networks by using strong passwords and erasing data on old computers before you send them to be recycled.

Ensure that your staff receives clear guidelines about what is acceptable to do online. You may want to restrict access to social networking sites and ban software piracy or other inappropriate content. Also, make sure that you train your staff so that they understand office policies and know who to contact if they have any questions or concerns.

It’s always worth it to get good advice as well. Call your local IT Specialist who understands small businesses and communicates in simple, jargon-free language. Your business and staff will thank you.

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How to Avoid ID Theft While Traveling

How to Avoid ID Theft While Traveling

When travelling anywhere, no matter how far away from home your destination is, you should always remember to protect your identity. Keeping your home and valuables safe while you’re travelling is important, but learning how to avoid becoming an identity theft victim is vital.

Hold your mail while you’re away from home and stop any newspaper or magazine subscriptions that you may have. Thieves can easily open your mail and get the hint that you’re not home if they see your mail piling up. Personal information, such as your social insurance number, mortgage documents, paycheck stubs, and bank information should be filed away in a locked cabinet or drawer in your home. This information should also be carefully hidden.

Avoid announcing your travel plans away from home on any social networking sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, or MySpace. It’s an invitation for thieves to break into your home and steal your vulnerable identity. Tell your family and close friends about your vacation plans, but keep that information away from potential thieves.

ID Theft

Leave some forms of ID at home in a safe place, preferably in a locked safety box. You can always store your ID at your bank or credit union too. If your wallet is stolen or if your bags are lost, you will still have your most important pieces of ID stored safely at home. Remember to keep your wallet, passport, and laptop in the hotel safe instead of leaving them in your hotel room.

While you’re gone, avoid doing any online banking in public places, such as Internet cafes or hotel business centers. Certain places may be more secure, but it’s best not to use any unsecure or public Internet connections. Set aside time to pay your bills and manage your accounts online before you travel.

Use your credit card instead of cheques or debit cards. If your credit card is stolen, it’s more likely that you will be able to claim your losses with your credit card rather than your debit card. It’s a good idea to call your credit card and tell them that you’ll be travelling. Ensure that you keep your credit card with you at all times.

Be aware and take all of the necessary precautions to prevent your identity from being stolen when you’re away from home and on the road. You could always maintain a credit monitoring service, like Equifax to protect your identity while you travel the world.

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How to Manage Your Passwords

How to Manage Your Passwords

These days, we are bombarded with online memberships, email accounts, and other applications that require you to create a username and a password. We have so many that it’s easy to forget your passwords. But there are ways to remember and mange your passwords without clicking the “Forgot your password?” link.

It is important to know how to choose a good password. Use a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters no more than eight characters long. You should also mix uppercase and lowercase passwords that are case-sensitive. Avoid using common words or phrases and numbers that are associated with your birthday, phone number, or Social Insurance Number.

Reusing the same password for all of your accounts may seem like an easy way to remember your passwords, but this method is far from safe. If thieves hack into your account and find out what your password is, they will use the same password to access your other accounts and personal information. If it’s easier for you, you can use the same username for every site. Also, if you choose to write your passwords down, keep them locked up.

Develop a password system so that you can memorize your passwords. Using a combination of numbers, special characters, and some elements from the names of the websites, you can create passwords that are unique and memorable without having to write them down.

Selecting the option to remember your password for particular website browsers, such as Firefox and Internet Explorer is a simple way to manage your online passwords. All you need to do is click “Yes” when you are asked if you would like your browser to save and store your password.

Using password management software is also an effective way to remember your passwords for more than just the Internet and for added security. These types of software are more versatile and can come pre-installed on your computer, like Apple’s Keychain. What works best is to try out a few different ones to see which software you’re most comfortable with. Above all, keep your passwords safe and remember to change them at least once a month.

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