Tag Archives: warning

Twitter users! Change your password, now

I subscribe to an Australian government website called ‘Stay Smart Online’. The site sends me notifications of current security alerts, and this is the latest:

‘As a precaution, Twitter is urging more than 330 million users to change their password after a glitch left log-in details exposed in the company’s internal computer system.

When you set a password for your account, Twitter uses technology that masks it, so no one can see your password.

The company recently identified a bug that stored unmasked passwords in an internal log. Twitter found this error itself, removed the passwords and is now looking at how it can prevent this from happening again.

Twitter has advised it has fixed the bug, and has no reason to believe the passwords left Twitter’s systems or were misused by anyone.’

Despite these assurances, however, you really should change your Twitter password now. More importantly, you should also change your password on any other sites where you used the same password.

I know you’re not supposed to ‘re-use’ passwords, but I’m just as guilty as everyone else because my memory is simply incapable of storing hundreds of passwords. I have special passwords for my banking accounts, or accounts that deal with money, that don’t get shared, but for the main social media accounts that I log in and out of multiple times a day, well….:(

Anyway, I’ve just gone through and changed mine, so I’m a good girl now. 🙂 Are you?

Please don’t ignore these warnings off as you never know when they’ll come back and bite you on the bum.

Meeks


Aussie Authors! Don’t pay for an ABN!

I can’t name any names as I’m still hoping I’ll receive the promised refund, but I couldn’t let this go without sounding some kind of a warning. 😦

So here it is. If you want or need an Australian Business Number [ABN], do NOT be fooled by any internet companies that charge for this service.

The only place to get an ABN is the official government website:

https://abr.gov.au/

Unfortunately this website is not the first one that comes up on an internet search. Chances are, you’ll see something that looks official, but in the fine print you’ll find that the company is actually a tax agent and the fee is for their services, not for the ABN.

I know this because I paid my money despite feeling uneasy. Only afterwards did I look up the real government agency. I rang and asked if there is a fee for reactivating an ABN. They said no…

I haven’t been ‘scammed’ exactly. I’ve been mislead. Don’t let the same thing happen to you. 😦

Meeks

 


Lulu.com has been infested with Author Solutions

courtesy Wikihow

courtesy Wikihow

I was having a good morning until I read this post on Indies Unlimited. Apparently Lulu – the non-Amazon Print On Demand [POD] company – has teamed up with Author Solutions to offer ridiculously expensive ‘packages’ to new authors.

Be warned! This is a barely legal scam that offers the unwary [read new, inexperienced author] help to get published. Those authors who have been burned by Author Solutions in the past never go back. Unfortunately, the flip side of the indie revolution is that there are always more new hopefuls waiting in the wings to get taken to the cleaners.

Do not be fooled by the fact that Author Solutions has now aligned itself with so many legitimate companies – its business practices are still the same. It’s a shonky business with shoddy ‘products’ aimed at those who need the help the most.

I first heard about Author Solutions on LinkedIn. Since then, the company has gone ‘underground’ by hiding under the skirts of well-known companies. It truly is like a cockroach hiding behind the skirting board of your house. Stomp on it every chance you get!

-wipes foam from teeth-

And in other news… my new article is up on Indies Unlimited. In it I ask the question ‘What is a writer?’

That question was inspired by fellow blogger Alex Laybourne. I believe that anyone who invests time and effort into writing a blog is, by definition a writer… because they write. Defining the difference between a writer and an author is a lot more fuzzy.

My modest little article has had some very passionate responses already so please check it out and join the debate!

cheers

Meeks


The SPAM folder ate my homework

I love my Opera email client, really I do, but the SPAM detection feature is vicious. It’s supposed to ‘learn’ what is and is not SPAM from what I do with the items in my inbox, so when I first installed it about a month ago [after the pc upgrade] it flagged  nothing as SPAM. Fair enough. Now though, it seems to be eating emails at random. Not happy Jan. 😦

I would not have known what my SPAM folder was up to if not for this new course I’m starting tomorrow. For days now I’ve been checking my inbox 10 times a day for some important emails from the course providers, and getting quietly more uneasy with each day. Why were they not sending me the info. they had promised?

Imagine my surprise when I get a call today from the course providers wondering why I hadn’t responded to their emails.

Feeling totally flustered and guilty [had I somehow missed these all-important emails?], I finally thought to check my SPAM folder… and there they were. But they were in good company. As my eye scanned the list of supposed spam, I saw emails from friends who are in my contact list. That is not supposed to happen.  What the expletive deleted ?

So friends, neighbours, and fellow denizens of the internet, if I haven’t replied to your emails it’s because the SPAM folder ate them. 😦

I’m scrambling to catch up with the things I should have done for my course, but as soon as that’s done I will scour my SPAM folder and unspam all of you. Promise.

Meeks


John Scalzi sounds the alarm about Alibi

John Scalzi is a popular and successful author. He also happens to be the President of SFWA [Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America]. In the post below he slams the contract offered by Alibi, [a Random House imprint] to desperate authors.

The post is too in-depth to paraphrase so I’ll just quote this from John Scalzi :

“THIS IS A HORRIBLE AWFUL TERRIBLE APPALLING DISGUSTING CONTRACT WHICH IS BAD AND NO WRITER SHOULD SIGN IT EVER.” [The caps are his not mine].

After reading the whole article I can say the Alibi contract gives authors just one thing – the ego-stroking of being able to say they were published by a Big 5 traditional publisher. Even that is not quite the truth as these imprints are basically just for e-books. Anyone who signs such a contract is signing their life and future away with very little in return.

I believe this contract, and others like it [e.g. Random House Hydra imprint] are aimed at Indie authors desperate for validation. If you are an indie author, or know someone who is, please follow the link below and check out the article for yourself. And then warn every Indie you know!

http://whatever.scalzi.com/2013/03/06/a-contract-from-alibi/#comment-447453

Thank you to Yvonne Hertzberger for posting about the John Scalzi article. Indies helping Indies is the only safety net any of us have.

cheers

Meeks


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