Hacking and a rant on texting

Drawing of a key by John LeMasney via 365sketches.org

I just finished reading an article by Mat Honan on how his digital life was hacked and totally destroyed due to one hacker who just wanted to get his hands on Mat’s 3 letter Twitter handle. This is a must read! More and more of our lives are in the cloud and more and more of our content accessible via other accounts (Google linked to Twitter linked to Amazon linked to iCloud …) making it easy to get in to all of them with info for just one.

Drawing of a key by John LeMasney via 365sketches.org

One of the things that Mat recommends is to turn on two factor security in Google (and so do others). So I went right to that because I am an Android phone user and have an Android tablet and Google is my life. Here’s where it gets tricky though! In order to do this I have give them my cell phone number so they can text me, well I don’t pay for a texting plan because why bother when I have data and Google Voice. Why waste my money each month on a texting plan that I don’t need to send texts? So, now where am I? Forced to pay per text so I can set up this two factor security? Of course I’m going to do it, but I’m just annoyed at the number of services out there that assume that you have a texting plan and don’t accept VOIP texting services (like Google’s own). I also get automated messages sometimes from new sites I sign up with or new services (like my new salon) I make appointments with – what is up with that? There was a time that no one would send a text without first asking if it was going to cost you to receive it?

Anyway, the real point of this post was to point you to this very important article on how hackers can get in to your accounts so you can protect yourself … the rant was just to make me feel better :)

If you’re using the extra authentication in Google I’d love to hear if you think it’s worth it and if it’s easy enough to use and if it sends more than one text message so I can budget for using it ;)

Logging in to Multiple Google Accounts

I use Google for everything! I have my personal Google account and all the apps associated with that and I also use Google Apps at work. Up until now that wasn’t a big deal, I just opened up two Firefox tabs and logged in to one account in each. This week however, Google forced those using Google Apps to transition their accounts. What this means is that you can only be logged in to one account at a time … or so I thought. I posted on Twitter and Facebook that I was not happy with this new transition and many librarians came to my aid pointing out that I could in fact log in to both at the same time still … it’s just a slightly different process. For those of you in my situation who are still using multiple browsers to access you multiple accounts, here are some tips for you:

  1. Log in to one of your Google accounts
  2. Visit your Account Settings
    • If you’re on Google+ your settings page will look like this:
    • If you’re in Google Apps or not on Google+ yet your settings might look like this
  3. Click ‘Edit’ next to Multiple sign-on
  4. Turn on the ability to sign on to multiple accounts
  5. Save your changes
  6. Click on your name or email address in the top right of the screen
  7. Click ‘Switch Account’ (here is where I go annoyed cause I thought I’d have to switch between accounts and couldn’t have them both open at once – but fear not)
  8. Click ‘Sign in to another account…’ and sign in
  9. Once you’re signed in to both you can visit your mailboxes in two different tabs just by entering the right URL for each (I for example go to gmail.com for my personal and then go to a ByWater specific URL for my Google Apps)

    • If you’re logging in to two Google personal accounts just open Gmail in two tabs and in one of them choose to switch to the other account you’re logged in as (it should work this way)

Hopefully that helps some of you who messaged me and said that you were still having problems getting in to two accounts at once. Of course if you have one personal Google account and one business one you should know that the Google Apps for Business service doesn’t have all the apps that the Google personal does, so there are some services that you just can’t access this way while logged in to your business account.

If you have other tips to share, please put them in the comments so others can learn from your experiences.

Backing up your Google content

So this morning Lori Reed asked me if I backup my Google Calendar to print … I, in my current jet-lagged state, replied ‘umm’ and then sheepishly admitted that I not only don’t back up to print, but don’t back up at all! I always talk about backing up your cloud content and now that Lori points it out, if I lose my calendar I’d be completely lost! So I did some research to see how I could automate a backup process.

First I found the Google help that tells you how to export your calendar. But I want it to be automatic cause I’ll never remember to do it on a regular basis.

Next I found this article that points to an open source tool you can use to schedule downloads – but it’s for Windows only and I’m a Mac user. I also found another free Windows tool in my searches which is accurately called Google Calendar Backup Utility.

I then found a few options for Mac users. The first is CloudPull which backs up all Google content (docs, calendar, reader, etc). The next option was BackupGoo which is also for all of my Google content.

Another option for Windows, Mac or Linux is to use Thunderbird with Lightening and Automatic Export.

If you have some tips you’d like to add (or links to useful tutorials) feel free to share in the comments. When I’m done with work today I’ll be giving some of the Mac options a whirl.

Rant about the cloud

Cloud computing is the new big things and in many cases I live my life in the cloud. I work in a virtual office and share files with my colleagues using various cloud servers. Our customers’ systems are in the cloud (a benefit of using Koha) and this works well for both them and us. But when it comes to my personal computer there are some things that just don’t belong in the cloud – or at least shouldn’t be cloud only.

A few months ago I ranted about StarCraft II and the fact that I couldn’t play offline. Many said it was possible, but no matter what I did, I had to be online to play the game. This meant that when I was in airports and airplanes I couldn’t play the game. Now, my husband tells me that a tool he likes to use is going to be moved to the cloud. This too is a big problem when traveling in particular, but in other instances too.

Right now we’re in a hotel that makes us pay for wifi. We’re not going to pay for both of us to be online at the same time so we’re swapping the wifi connection back and forth. Yesterday I was able to work on answering emails and chatting with friends while he used his tools offline. That won’t be possible soon if things are changed with this application.

My point here is that while the cloud is all fancy and new and very very useful most of the time, there are some things that we need to think carefully about before moving all of our applications to the cloud – the first being that high speed Internet is not available to everyone – and if it is available to everyone, not everyone can afford it – so in order to stay accessible we need to think twice before moving everything out into the ether.

Rant done.