Sunday, July 28, 2013

Blushing Beauty

While I was listening to tunes, riding on the Tube in London I noticed this woman across from me. She was an older lady and very pretty. Her age had changed the tightness of her features a bit, but I could tell she still had her youth in her eyes. I asked her if I could take her picutre so I could draw it, and to my disappointment she didn't speak english. So, I had to mime my question to her. With my skills in charades it didn't take long for her to understand what I was asking and she nodded her agreement. After I took her picture I told her she was beautiful. It was apparent she knew that english word because she blushed and smiled, then just before she left the train she thanked me.
So, here is my drawing of the Blushing Beauty...

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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

My thoughts and a few facts about Internet Security

Hey howdy hey peps! This topic I’d like to write about has been on my mind a ton and I thought I’d better get it out of my brain so I could relax a little. Besides, posting something as important as Internet Security needs to be shared, right?
You may be an expert on what I’m about to share with you, but I’m going to post it anyway, because I’m not an expert, and as you know, people who aren’t experts like to pretend they are.
Honestly I’m not all knowing in this subject, but my husband is, and he is the one I’ve turned to so I could share this with you.
My husband has worked in Information Technology (on the security side) for many years now and he knows his stuff. And because he is my husband and I’m his biggest fan I’m going to take a moment to put him on a pedestal and brag about him. There is a test called CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional), and this test, from what I’ve heard, is extremely difficult. Students who have taken the Bar exam (the exam lawyers have to pass) and the CISSP have said the CISSP is even more difficult than the Bar. Having stated that I will say… MY HUSBAND IS SO SMART! HE PASSED THE CISSP HIS FIRST TRY!
Ahem… Moving on…
I love technology (hopefully a song just popped into your head. If not, go watch the very end of Napoleon Dynamite), but technology can be a pain in the hind end. Those of us who use social media to promote our business (yes fellow writers and artists, you have a business) we need to share our lives out there with everyone.
But how much is too much?
I struggle with this question at times and whenever I think about posting something on FB or sharing a link I stop and ask myself “Should I share this and what is the purpose in doing so?”
Every time I see someone post on FB their address or phone number I cringe. Sorry if this is you my friends, but really, it’s not smart. I will share some rules I personally follow, and after I will give some statistics and facts that I’ve received from my husband (he gets his facts from Security companies he’s worked for).
Some of my own short list of rules;
1.      * Don’t post or share your full, real birthday. Make one up or only share a portion of it. (You might be devastated if someone can’t wish you a happy birthday on facebook, but it won’t matter. Your closest friends will remember you and that’s all that matters)
2.      * Don’t post your address or phone number. The only time you would share an address via web is if you are purchasing something online and need it shipped. Otherwise no one needs this information.
3.       *Don’t share your children’s birthday, name, where they go to school or any other information that doesn’t need to be shared. You don’t want to be the cause of your children’s security being breached. This rule applies for friends and family as well. (When I brag about my kids on FB I simply say “My son” or “My daughter said this…”)
4.      * Don’t post pictures you don’t want everyone to see, because everyone will eventually see it. Remember, the internet is forever.
5.       *Be careful with your picture content. Don’t take pictures in front of your car with your license plate number showing, or in front of your house with address showing, or of kids in front of the school’s name, etc.
6.      * In general, don’t share personal information.

Why do I follow these rules? You might think “My information is already out there, so why should I care?”
Not true, some websites might already have your info, but not everyone can access it easily. It’s best not to share. The less you share the less they have. When running from a bear you don’t need to be the fastest, only faster than the guy behind you. Don’t be the easiest target.
Here are some statistics about internet security that I found;
1.      *You know those ads to the side of your favorite website? There are a good percentage of ads that are infected with Malware (virus’ and trojans). Websites don’t always have control over what ads are showing on their page. Even big well known websites can unknowingly have malware in the adspace surrounding their webpage.
2.      *There was a 42% increase in targeted cyber attacks in 2012.
3.       *31% of all targeted attacks aimed at businesses with less than 250 employees.  Why smaller companies? Bigger companies spend more money to protect their PC’s. Smaller companies don’t. Sad, I know. Why does this matter if you are not a small business owner? You likely partner with, buy from, work for, or interact with small businesses in other ways. Or your kids do online or a spouse or anyone else that uses a shared computer device.
4.       *One waterhole attack infected 500 organizations in a single day.
5.       *32% of all mobile threats steal information.
6.       *A single threat infected 600,000 Macs in 2012. (You apple people thought you were safe, didn’t you)
7.       *The number of phishing sites spoofing social networking sites increased 125%.
8.       *Web-based attacks increased 30%.
9.       *5,291 new vulnerabilities discovered in 2012, 415 of them on mobile operating systems.

When my husband worked for a certain security company he regularly received updates on security breaches throughout the world. There were some that he shared with me that scared me to pieces. Most breaches that I heard about involved Universities and Hospitals. It’s possible your personal information has already been shared with all those dishonest trouble makers out there. Still, the less you share the less they get, so be smart.
It’s best to spend money to protect yourself, but don’t go helping the criminals along by sharing everything you’ve got.
Not only will having a security product help with Malware and your info, but it can also help protect your family from pornography. I’ve seen too many families torn apart by porn. Let’s be smart and fight those bleepity bleep porn people out there.  Do your homework, find out what will best work for your family and protect yourself from being a target.
Well, I hope I’ve enlightened you and given you something to think about, if not, I’m glad you already took the time to inform yourself on this subject.
And again, the internet is forever! 

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Yes I've known this bit of news for a few weeks, but I have a somewhat good excuse why I haven't shared.
I was scared.
I wished and prayed that this event in my life could come true and it worried me that I was only dreaming. What if it's not real? What if they take this awesomeness away from me?
Well, I decided that I needed to shared regardless of my fears. So...
One of my drawings is going to be published in a real live novel!
I've dreamed of this since the day I realized I wanted to be an artist (from the tender age of 9). It's coming true in September. Julianne Donaldson, a very talented author, will have my drawing of Kate (her main character) in her next book called Blackmoore. Click on the link to read about Julie and her books. Hopefully you'll pick up a copy in Sept and see the beautiful Kate smiling back at you.

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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Wee Scottish Man

Back in May when I attended LDS Storymakers writer's conference I had the privilege to speak with Anne Perry. She examined my portfolio and loved my artwork. BUT, she thought I needed a challenge. She wanted to see older people. People with character.
So a couple weeks ago when I was cheerfully touring Sterling Castle in Scotland, I nearly ran into a group of people (my attention was directed through my camera lens). I looked up just in time to see a wee old man with a nice looking face. As my legs were continuing forward I had several thoughts run through my mind. The conversation with Anne Perry was my first thought. Then I took another look at the man and thought, "Hey, he has wrinkles and he's got plenty of character" then I thought about asking him if I could take his picture, then I thought, "AH! No way! That's scary to have to ask someone!"
Then I thought, "What's the worst that could happen... he'd say no?"
With a stop and a hop I turned to ask him if I could take a picture so I could draw him.
His first reaction was surprise, then embarrassment, then shyly he agreed.
When I was taking his picture, I could almost read his mind through the look in his eyes.
"Why would this silly American want to take my picture?"

Wee Scottish Man

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Monday, July 1, 2013

My Favorite

 Loch Ness
This place is my first favorite place I visited in the UK.
No, I didn't see Nessy. I was told that the only way to see Nessy was to visit the Pub before hand. ;)
My next favorite is Cowdor Castle Gardens. Cowdor had the most beautiful gardens of all the castles.
I wish I could add smell-a-vision to this blog. This place was so sweet smelling. The scent in the air reminded me of the sweet smell of Hawaii.

Then my next favorite is Melrose Abby

I tried to load a video of Melrose, but it didn't want to cooperate. I might try again.

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