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Big Beautiful Photos on Craig’s List

October 21, 2011 by debbie T | Digital PhotographyInternet

I was posting an ad on Craig’s List today, and noticed how crappy the photos looked after uploading them to Craig’s List. Yuck! There had to be a better way. I tried compressing them further, and no luck, Craig’s List still compressed them further and they looked horrible!

After googling, I found a forum post that helped! I never realized that you could upload your photo files elsewhere online, and then link to them using the html tag! Awesome!

So, I resized and optimized my photos again (larger) and uploaded them to my Google’s Picasa Web Album. From there, it’s easy to set up a link.

Here are the details:

Picasa Web Album

Note: this tutorial is specifically written for google’s Picasa online photo management, but you can use many other online photo management web sites like flickr or photobucket. But if you have a gmail account (and I strongly recommend that you do, especially if you’re regularly posting on Craig’s List), then you automatically have your own Picasa photo account.

In Gmail, click the “photos” link to go to Picasa Web Albums.

click link to picasa web albums

If you need help resizing and exporting your photos for the web using iPhoto, please read over my tutorial.

If you are using Picasa, I have a tutorial for that as well. Both tutorials are older from previous years.

Upload Photos to Picasa Web Albums

Once you are in Picasa Web Albums, click the “upload” link.

Type a name for a new photo album or “add to an existing album”

If you have the Mac Finder open, you can easily drag your files into the open space on Picasa, or if you prefer doing things the old fashioned way, click the “Select photos from your computer” link and choose them that way.

Once all your photos are uploaded, click the “ok” button on the bottom right.

Change Photo Album Privacy

You’ll notice that by default your album/photos are private, only viewable by you. To change that, click the “edit” button (from column on far right) and change the visibility to “public on the web”

edit privacy for photos

Get the HTML to Embed Your Photo Into Craig’s List Ad

Once uploaded, your photos will be organized in the new album. Click on the first photo.

On the far right, you will see some photo information. Click the link to “Link to this Photo”

Select Size: Choose the appropriate size to display your photo on Craig’s List. 400 px is a good size, so choose “medium 400″ from the pull down menu. (see screen shot below)

Then check the box next to “hide album link” – this will only display the photo without the main album. (see screen shot below)

Lastly, click your mouse pointer in the little code/text box for “embed image” and the complete line of code will be highlighted. (see screen shot below)

get the html code to embed photo

Once the code is highlighted, click Edit>copy from your browser menu.

Launch your Craig’s List ad text in a new tab or window in your browser and when you are ready to insert the photo into the ad text, choose Edit>Paste and the code will be pasted into your ad.

The html code should look something like this:

<a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/###feat=embedwebsite"><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-###/filename.jpg" height="266" width="400" /></a>

Now preview your Craig’s List ad to make sure the photo is displaying properly. If so, then repeat these steps for your additional photos; paste the codes after each other in your ad.

IMPORTANT SECURITY NOTE: I’m super paranoid about Craig’s List, and you should be too (there’s a lot of scammers and nefarious browsers out there) so be aware that these ad photos are linked back to your Picasa Web Album (and gmail email address) – My advice is to set up a completely new gmail account that remains separate from your home/personal email account. That way you are not inviting strangers to view personal/family photos that you might have previously uploaded.

Keep your Craig’s List photos completely separate from your personal photos! Even if you set your other photos as “private”, you could be inviting a hacker!

Good luck and I hope this tutorial helped!

Facebook is Promoting Deleted Content – Facebook Doesn’t Delete User Data!

March 20, 2011 by debbie T | Digital PhotographyInternet

I’ve always understood and accepted that Facebook saves all your content, even the stuff you delete. What I didn’t realize was that it’s still 100% accessible to anyone that has the right link, and worse, Facebook is actively promoting and encouraging access to your deleted content!

Today was a real eye-opener.

My Facebook friend and I were posting on a conversation on her wall about biking and walking to work. I happened to notice one of the “Memorable Status Updates” on the sidebar of her wall. There was an interesting conversation about exercise from about 18 months ago, so I clicked, and posted a new comment on the old thread.

My friend questioned me as to how I found the old discussion, since she regularly cleans her wall of older posts, deleting them. She informed me she deleted it months ago!

Now, as I previously mentioned, the fact that Facebook retained deleted content didn’t really surprise me. What DID surprise, stun and scare me was that Facebook was actually promoting and encouraging access to said deleted content!

So, that means that if you posted something terrible about your boss or inlaw, change your mind, and delete it a few days later, if you become Facebook friends with that person, they might actually find that post on the side bar listing “Memorable Status Updates”.

LESSON LEARNED! Don’t post anything on Facebook that you don’t want to last forever! NOTHING is every truly deleted on Facebook and Facebook can promote access to it any way they want…

Other Links:
http://www.zdnet.com/blog/igeneration/facebook-does-not-erase-user-deleted-content/4808

http://arstechnica.com/web/news/2010/10/facebook-may-be-making-strides.ars

EDIT 2011-04-10: It’s funny, since I wrote this, I haven’t seen any instances of the problem. Thankfully, maybe Facebook came to their senses! But this proves that they CAN pretty much do whatever they want with your content, and the cat could be out of the bag before you realize there’s a problem! Don’t put anything on Facebook that you don’t want to be public – JUST IN CASE they decide to mess up again!

How to Change Verizon Fios Router from WEP to WPA2, Plus Other Security Adjustments

December 3, 2010 by debbie T | InternetWireless

It’s a good thing that Verizon FIOS , by default, offers its customers at least a little security on their wireless routers, instead of leaving them with a 100% open wireless network. I suppose it’s in Verizon’s best interest, since an open wifi network would allow neighbors and passersby to jump on to their internet service for free.

But truthfully, the default security WEP is extremely weak, and is very easy to hack. Just google "WEP hack" and you’ll find pages of article and tutorials!

So what does that really mean to you? It means that anyone in range of your home can easily gain access to your network. Why is that a problem? Well, if they are sharing your network, then they can easily achieve access to your computers, stealing private info, snooping on your activity, gaining access to your email accounts, installing malware, etc.

The good news is, you can easily change the router security from WEP to WPA2 with just a few clicks. And you can even keep the same numerical password / key if you’d like, but I highly suggest to change it, but that would be up to you.

So, there is no excuse anymore! Lock down your router! It only takes a couple of minutes!

DISCLAIMER: I am NOT a paid security expert, so please be warned that things can go wrong. The worst that can probably happen is you somehow lock yourself out of your wireless network. In that case, you can click the "reset" button on the router and all settings will revert back to factory defaults. Keep in mind, you should NOT attempt to make any adjustments when you are in a rush, just in case something goes wrong. In other words, don’t start messing with your settings right before an important online meeting that requires online access!

See instructions on how to reset your Verizon FIOS router if you need it.

Before You Begin

This tutorial is based on the Actiontec MI424-WR Verizon FIOS wireless router. If your router is a different model or brand, then your settings might differ.

If your computer normally accesses the Internet via a wireless connection, then I suggest using a wired Ethernet cable to attach your computer to the FIOS router. (Ethernet looks like a big telephone cable.) Since you are editing the wireless settings, it will probably bounce you out of the wireless network once any password changes are made. If you are bounced out of wifi, then you will need to log into the network again using the new passkey.

At first glance, these instructions might look very confusing and overwhelming, but don’t let it stop you from trying. Print out the instructions and carefully follow each step. Take your time, and don’t rush. BREATHE and relax!

#1 Find the WEP Key (Access Password)

First off, locate the Verizon FIOS wireless modem/router and turn it over to reveal the label with your model information. The tech that installed your service should have informed you that this is where your WEP password/key is located just in case you need to find it again. That "WEP key" is is what you’ve been using to log into your wireless network.

Find_the_WEP_Key__Access_Password

While you are at the bottom of your router, make note of the serial number located under the bar code. You might possibly need it if your installation tech changed your admin password from the default password to something more secure. More on that in the next part.

Admin Password

#2 Log Into Router As Admin

In order to access the settings of your Verizon FIOS router, launch your web browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari.)

Read the Rest of the Article

Facebook Privacy

December 19, 2009 by debbie T | Internet

I set out today to possibly write a new blog tutorial on facebook privacy, but luckily I found a great article that explains everything that I would have liked to have written.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5h_z2h1O3Pe-WJOziU2ShT4GbdEAgD9CL9KQG1

Zynga & Facebook Mafia Wars – Requires 3rd party cookies

December 6, 2009 by debbie T | Internet
UPDATED 2009-12-12: hmm, I just tried launching Facebook Mafia Wars in Firefox, and it works SORT OF. A lot of the game is blank, don’t know if it’s a Zynga problem or what. The jobs page worked fine, actually it worked awesomely, very speedy! Then in the Businesses page, NoScript threw an error, and even after refreshing, the page didn’t load fully. We’ll see.
UPDATED 2009-12-9: Just read that Safari allows Mafia Wars to play even with 3rd party cookies disabled. I launched Mafia Wars, and it looks to be true. No further cookies were added to my cookie list in Safari. Initially I removed all cookies, so it would start clean. Only .facebook cookies were added to my cookies. It’s also possible to browse in “private browsing” mode. It won’t stop cookies from being added, but it will prevent the cache and history from sticking.

I tried launching Mafia Wars the other day, and was surprised to find this message instead:

zynga facebook mafia wars now requires 3rd party cookies to play the game.

Facebook Mafia Wars now requires 3rd party cookies to run correctly! Wow!

After googling a little, I found that a lot of players are angry and are not going to play until things change back. Well, I don’t think that Zynga cares. They have way plenty of other users that are more than happy to play the game no matter how badly their security is hindered! Zynga is just out to make money and they couldn’t care less about their users.

Check out this article over on mindspray.com, which includes a video from Techcrunch of the Zynga CEO bragging about how many skummy things he has done to make $ from users. Dirtbag!

Here is the full article over at techCrunch.com

So, I am refusing to play Mafia Wars or any other game that requires my security settings to be changed. I also use the Firefox extensions “AdBlock” and “NoScript” for even more protection.

As of now, it looks like only Mafia Wars has this particular restriction, but I am sure more games are on the way to be changed.

Here is a list of all Zynga games:

More games listed on their wikipedia page.

Keep an eye out, if you are playing any of these games. Don’t trust Zynga!

Paypal & Bill Me Later Scam Nightmare

November 11, 2009 by debbie T | InternetRamblings
Updated 2009-11-18: Justin from Bill Me Later left a message on our answering machine tonight. He read my blog and wanted to discuss my problem. Yay! I phoned him back, and he is crediting my account in full. Hopefully, my next statement will be zero. And again, it wasn’t the $25 that I cared about. It was that I opened a new credit account and it felt like a huge waste. But I am satisfied now, but the only reason I got help was because I wrote this article, so it’s a bittersweet victory, but a victory nonetheless.
Updated 2009-12-11: See below for new updated screen shots of another email I received from Paypal with the same offer!

OMG, today is the last straw! I am sooo sooo angry and upset with Bill Me Later. And I am most upset with myself for not listening to my instincts.

My advice to EVERYONE, if you receive a pre-approved email from Paypal offering you a credit for $25 or more to use Bill Me Later, RUN AWAY! Don’t fall for it. It’s a complete scam!

It’s been a constant battle to deal with them from the beginning, even before I made my purchase. They are poorly trained (and informed) and now they are refusing to apply the credit! Thankfully, I only spent $26, so it was a cheap lesson to learn.

Let’s start at the beginning! I received TWO official emails from Paypal at the beginning of October:

Do you like choices? We thought so. That’s why you’ve got a brand new choice from PayPal. Shop now – and pay for your purchases later. It’s called Bill Me Later®.

Just check out with PayPal as usual when you shop online. Choose our Bill Me Later option, and you can pay when it’s right for you: now – or later.*

Even better, you’re pre-approved. Shop by 10/31/09 and get up to $25 off your first purchase and no payments for 90 days.
Sound good? Start shopping at one of our participating stores – just a few of the thousands that accept PayPal.
Get up to 25 dollars off and no payments for 90 days
Want to know more? Check it out!

Sounds great, right? My DH needed to purchase something on Ebay. Two separate merchants, I purchased with my Paypal account, and there was absolutely no option to choose “Bill Me Later”

I called Paypal a couple of times, no one knows anything about the promotion (and I assure you, it was an official email, they were just ill-informed) so they pass the buck over to Bill Me Later, who were equally idiotic.

Bill Me Later customer service told me that perhaps the Ebay merchants weren’t included in the 1000’s of merchants (even though it clearly stated on the FAQ that Ebay was included). No one was able to offer any insight to the details of this promotion.

I put the email aside, and really didn’t want to deal with it. I should have listened to that “little voice” and just walked away from the deal. Eh, it was only $25 credit (others were receiving $100 credits – my God, thank you that I didn’t receive one of those, as I would now be paying for $100 of merchandise)

But my inner greed took over and I sat down on October 28 (three days before the Oct 31st deadline) to find something to buy for around $25. I finally decided to purchase two books from Walmart.

So, my cart was filled, and I clicked the “check out with Paypal” button. I signed into my Paypal account (the same account that the email was sent to). I tried to change my Payment Options, and as with Ebay earlier, there was absolutely NO OPTION to change the payment to Bill Me Later. See my screenshot below:

Bill Me Later scam

I was livid, so I phoned Bill Me Later again. The customer service rep told me that I should using the Paypal link, but to use the normal check out process and choose “Bill Me Later” as the payment. So, that is what I did, and it appeared to work. EXCEPT, I then received a “Welcome to Bill Me Later” email with the email address that I used for Walmart, NOT the email address that the original offer was sent to.

Oh crap! I called Bill Me Later, and they assured me that they would send a request through to their Account Resolution department and I would have an answer in 5-7 business days.

So, today I receive an email from Bill Me Later (using a Do Not Reply email – grrrr)

Dear Debbie xxxx,

We have received your inquiry about your Bill Me Later® account. Unfortunately, we were not able to apply the promotional credit you requested. The promotional credit with Wal-Mart was not being offered. If however you can provide proof of the offer we will be able to research this further.

Sincerely,
Melissa
Bill Me Later Inc. ®
Customer Care
Financial Services for Bill Me Later® are provided by CIT Bank, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Okay, first off, no telephone number? No last name? No return email address? Talk about wonderful customer service.

Secondly, who said anything about a promotional credit with Wal-Mart? The promotion was offered through Paypal and Bill Me Later! One more moronic statement to add to the pile.

So, of course, at this point I am beyond angry. Beyond being reasonable!

I phoned Bill Me Later. Spoke to “Scott” who listened to my ranting, and ended up giving me his “fake” email address (that bounced) swahba@billmelater.com telling me to forward the email I received to him. As I said, the email ended up being fake, so of course, that made me even angrier! grrrr. I phoned them again, and the new person forwarded my call to Matt who was in the “Account Resolution” department.

At this point, all three people at Bill Me Later kept mentioning the “promotional credit with Wal-Mart”! And it set me off every time! Why do you think this is a promotion from Wal-Mart??? It was an email from Paypal and Bill Me Later!!!! I was screaming I was so upset! (note, yeah, I know you can get more flies with honey, but I was beyond angry, and there was no calming me down!)

So, Matt told me to forward him the original email, which I did. He phoned me in a few minutes and told me that because I didn’t go through Paypal’s checkout, I was out of luck (I am paraphrasing of course)

What??? What? WHAAAATTTT? I screamed bloody murder. That is what I tried to do (at least three times with Ebay and Walmart) and there is no option for Bill Me Later when checking out with Paypal. Matt calmly “assured” me (yeah, oh I love that word, assured) that there certainly was an option.

Show me where then! To this day, no one can tell me! Know why? Because it’s impossible, because it’s a total scam! You will receive the promotional email, you will try to make a purchase, and you will end up being stuck with the charges yourself because they won’t give you the credit. Thankfully, in my case, it was only $25, but others might not be so lucky.

I am thinking I might return one of the books to Walmart anyway. So, it won’t be too bad.

Oh Gawd, I really really really hate Bill Me Later!!!

ETA: It appears I am not the only one that didn’t see any option for Bill Me Later when using Paypal for checkout.
http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/958748/

And the internet is riddled with Bill Me Later complaints dating back years ago. It appears they have a reputation for their lack of customer service skills and sweeping problems under the rug.
http://www.google.com/search?q=bill+me+later+scam
http://www.google.com/search?q=bill+me+later+fraud
http://news.cnet.com/2100-1017-960380.html

This complaint from 2005 sounds so similar to my situation. They pass it to the “Accounts Resolution” department, and then after their investigation, they deny that there was a promo for Walmart, Amazon or whichever store you used for the purchase! Wow. They are still doing the same thing four years later!

I really want to close out the account, as I don’t want to give them the satisfaction of having me as a customer, but I am afraid it will hinder my credit. I have excellent credit, and from what I have read, by opening the account, they did a “hard pull” on my credit account, which reduces my credit score a few points for 6 months or so. If I close the account, I have a feeling it might also affect my score. Something to check out!

UPDATE: Just received an email from Matt (in reply to my email with an attached screenshot of my Paypal screen with no payment option for Bill Me Later)

Again I apologize for the frustration that this issue has caused, and I want to assure you that we are committed to providing you the best service that we can. There has been some confusion during the release of this new offer through PayPal, and many of our agents including myself have not been giving the right information.

The heart of this issue seems to be this, though Walmart may be a Paypal merchant they are not offering Bill Me Later through PayPal at this time. This is likely because Walmart is one of our regular Bill Me Later merchants. In the future it is likely that Walmart will be available with Bill Me Later through the PayPal wallet but it is currently not offered.

Also addressing your issues using Bill Me Later through the PayPal wallet on eBay, likely the merchant you attempted to use was also not offered. Unfortunately there is no list of merchants that offer this payment method, because of the large number of merchants on eBay all desiring different methods it would be virtually impossible to list them all. So in the future if you desire to use Bill Me Later through the PayPal wallet and receive your $25 merchant reward if you do not see the option at your point of purchase you will know that it is not offered. Then you will be able to back out of your order if you so desire.

Again Ms. xxx, I apologize for the inconvenience that this has caused and appreciate your patience with this issue.

This makes this promotion look more fraudulent by the minute. How could they possibly offer this promotion and not know who was participating? And I think his excuse is a bullsh*t answer anyway.

What’s happening is NO merchants are set up to use Bill Me Later through Paypal. That’s what I think! Why wouldn’t they all be set up? If a merchant like Walmart is set up to receive both Paypal and Bill Me Later, how difficult would it be to merge the two? And furthermore, how could they possibly roll out this promotion when even the merchants listed in the actual email weren’t in participation? I checked back in October, and at least one of the three wasn’t set up! Sorry, but that is misleading!

Scam scam scam. Stay away from Paypal and Bill Me Later or you’ll be sorry!

UPDATED 2009-12-11: I just received another pre-approval offer from Paypal for $25 and no payments until April 2010.

new pre-approved offer from paypal for $25 and no payments until april 2010

I decided to test it out, so I went to Barnes & Noble and added a random item to the shopping cart. I typed my info in the first few forms, and when it go to the payment options, I chose Paypal. As soon as I logged into Paypal, a window popped up informing me that I was pre-approved for Bill Me Later.

popup window telling me I was pre-approved for bill me later

I closed the window, and there was definitely an option for Bill Me Later as a payment choice using my Paypal account.

option in paypal to use bill me later

So, it looks like maybe Paypal and Bill Me Later are getting their act together. We’ll see. Stay alert everyone, and if you do go for your $25 or $100 pre-approval account, please double check to make sure you are purchasing through Paypal. If there isn’t an option for Bill Me Later through Paypal, then you won’t get your credit.

This One Made Me Laugh

October 13, 2009 by debbie T | InternetRamblings

I know, I get all sorts of spammy email crap from every advertising and search engine web site, but this one gave me such a giggle.

Dear Webmaster,

My name is Liz, and my company Topspot Promotions represents online gaming sites in various domains. We are looking at reputable sites to place our clients’ ads. Please let me know if you are interested.

For further details please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely,
Liz Jenkins
Advertising Consultant
Business Development Department
liz.jenkins @ topspot-promotions dot net (removed link to their actual web site)
Topspot Promotions

If you do not respond to this email you will not receive any additional emails from TopSpot Promotions. To permanently delete yourself from our list, simply reply to this with a blank email and you will not receive any communication from us in the future.

Okay first off, they are looking for “reputable” sites to place their online gaming ads. What? They don’t want to advertise gaming on a non-reputable site? Gee, they are picky aren’t they? On the other hand, once an online gaming ad goes up, wave bye bye to the good reputation. Catch 22. ;)

And then the last paragraph. If I don’t respond I won’t receive anymore emails from them, but just in case, it’s better to reply with a blank email and they will know to delete me from their list. I love it!

Amazon Call Me!

September 16, 2009 by debbie T | Internet

I was having a little problem with my Amazon purchase this morning, and I wanted to contact them about it. I clicked the “contact us” link at the bottom of the page.

contact us - amazon

A new windows opens, and your account name & password can be entered. (not required)

I figured I would just email them, since it wasn’t a big problem. But when I saw the contact options I was intrigued.

amazon-phone2

I clicked on the “Phone” tab and found a feature that calls you instead of you calling them! I had to try it! (I am pretty sure this feature isn’t necessarily new, but it’s been a long time since I had any issues with Amazon, so I am behind the times!)

After typing in my account password again, it opens another new window where you need to type your phone number. The default is to call you right away, but there is an option to choose a 5, 10, or 15 minute delay.

amazon-phone3

Once you submit your phone number info, your phone will ring immediately! Pick it up, and an automated voice tells you to hang on, etc…I figured it might be a bit of a wait, but nope! I was talking to Jennifer within a minute and she helped me with my problem. I don’t think I was on the phone for longer than 5 minutes from start to finish.

Why would you want to use this feature instead of just calling them yourself? Well, probably because your account info is immediately known by the customer service associate and it saves a lot of time! Plus it’s soo freakin’ cool!

Twitter Web Interface Lost Its Style

June 17, 2009 by debbie T | Firefox BrowserInternetTwitter

OMG, I thought I was in the Twilight Zone!

I am not sure how I did it, but today when looking at Twitter from the Firefox web interface, the pages were totally un-styled and plain.

I checked Safari, everything looked normal. I tried searching on Twitter for some weird issue and no one else seemed to have a problem. aaack!

I tried logging out, and even the login page was un-styled. And then like a beacon of light, I saw it! A little button under the login text boxes “Standard”

twitter-mobile-standard

I clicked it! My Twitter page was back to normal again. Dur, I was in the Mobile view version! Silly me!

I think I clicked on someone’s link or something and it must have sent me to the Mobile version of Twitter. Well, at least now I know what to do next time!

Testing Web Design in Different Browsers

May 20, 2009 by debbie T | InternetWeb DesignWeb DevelopmentWindows on the Mac

Every web designer knows how important it is to test test test their new web design in multiple browsers. Windows doesn’t make it easy to test in multiple versions of Internet Explorer, although it is possible through various means.

What I decided to go the virtual route. I have VMWare Fusion installed on my Mac, with Windows XP and Windows 7 virtual machines, running IE 6 and IE8 respectively.

So in order to run IE7, I copied the XP/IE6 virtual machine onto an external hard drive (due to lack of space on my laptop) keeping IE6 running, while upgrading to IE7 on the original XP machine.

Works great!

For more info on how I moved my VMWare Fusion virtual machine, check out my article explaining how I accomplished it. Note: When you launch the “copied” virtual machine, it will ask if it was moved or copied, in this instance I chose “copied”