Seth Godin’s list of zoom and skype call tips – plus

Seth Godin just put out a list of tips for when you are on web conference calls. It’s a great list. I read everything he posts. But I think the simple guidance should have been “either attend the meeting or don’t.” If the meeting is worth your time and you can learn from it or contribute to it – be invested in it. Fully invested in it. Or don’t attend. That’s a good rule for face-to-face or remote meetings. So, my list would be:

  • Is this meeting worth your time? If so, block off time for the meeting and don’t try to multitask. Most of the time you aren’t multitasking, instead you are task switching and most humans don’t do it very well, honestly.
  • If you need to attend remotely via a web conference, use video whenever and wherever possible. Visual cues are very important in communication. Invest in a good camera.
  • And use a good headset or use the most soundproof room you can find.

Seth Godin’s list is still great and applicable. So maybe my list is more of a pre-call checklist? First determine if the meeting is worth your time and then actually invest it (and then apply Seth’s list of tips).

Link to Seth Godin’s post:


Fix your passwords (and use two factor authentication!)

Recently Keeper Security looked at 10 million stolen passwords and their blog post of the most popular passwords has me thinking. Two main thoughts actually:

  • Why do people (individual consumers) put so little effort into passwords after all the press we have seen?
  • And – why are companies still not following best practices when it comes to allowing consumers to create these passwords?

Where have these people been? And why are they allowed to continue such sloppy bad practices?

What are the top 10 passwords found in those 10 million stolen passwords in 2016 according to Keeper Security’s findings:

  1. 123456
  2. 123456789
  3. qwerty
  4. 12345678
  5. 111111
  6. 1234567890
  7. 1234567
  8. password
  9. 123123
  10. 987654321

Guess what were the top 10 most common passwords back in 2010 (from passwords stolen from the rockyou site – so a much smaller data set)?

  1. 123456 (still number 1 in 2016)
  2. 12345
  3. 123456789 (moved up to number 2 in 2016)
  4. password (at least it dropped to number 8 in 2016)
  5. iloveyou
  6. princess (where did this come from?)
  7. rockyou (remember the name of the site?)
  8. 1234567 (moved up one spot in 2016)
  9. 12345678 (moved up to number 4 in 2016)
  10. abc123

Looks very similar, huh? We haven’t learned anything in 6 years!

I am just like everyone else. I have a limited number of passwords I use at most of my web sites. Security experts would suggest you have a totally different password for every site you go to and you keep them safely in your head (or use a password manager!). I can’t do that. There is just no way. But I do have a few simple passwords I use for “normal” sites. And I have special (more complex) passwords I use for more sensitive sites like my email. And then very secure sites, like my banking web sites, I do have unique separate very complex passwords for each of them. I don’t have the best memory (honestly, I have a pretty bad memory). But I follow some simples rules, the first being never ever ever use a word from the dictionary with all lower cases. Even the lowest level password I have is a mixture of upper and lower case and numbers. And it’s not a word in a dictionary, but it is something I can remember easily.

Simple rules of thumb when picking a password are:

  • Pick something you can remember (a sticky note is not secure! and if you have to write it down, don’t tape it to your monitor!)
  • Don’t use any part of your name, your user name, your spouse’s name, your kid’s name, your dog’s name, etc.
  • Don’t use your birthday, your kids birthday, your street number, etc.
  • Don’t use a common word in a dictionary
  • Always use a mix of upper and lower case
  • Always have at least one number
  • Always have at least one special character
  • Use passwords longer than the normal 5 or 6 characters; I suggest 8 or 9 characters or more.

I know that list seems impossible, but it really isn’t too hard to follow. I have a Sys Admin friend who always uses pass phrases (similar to number 5 on the rockyou list above, iloveyou) as his passwords. But he uses mix case (iLoveYou), adds in numbers (1L0v3Y0u), and special characters, so in the end “iloveyou” becomes “1L0>3Y0u!” or something similar. And honestly he would never use a passphrase as simple (or as clean) as i love you.

So, go fix your passwords! At least on your email and banking sites. And remember – 1L0>3Y0u!

And turn on two-factor authentication! Most popular sites have a two factor option now.

Apple’s Two-factor Authentication (which replaced Apple’s old Two-Step Verification, which was basically the same thing pre-iOS 9), go to the My Apple ID page and sign in. Look for Security > Two-Factor Authentication and click “Get Started…”

Google calls its system 2-Step Verification.

Facebook has two factor authentication, but they call it Login Approvals, access it by going to Settings > Security. Click “Edit” next to Login Approvals and “Enable” on the top right.

And Google has a nice checklist you should know about:

The Keeper Security blog post:

Can’t see the “Allow your Apple Watch to unlock your Mac” checkbox in macOS Sierra

So, I installed macOS Sierra and went to set up the automatic login to my Mac using my Apple Watch. I had everything set up right. I had the correct hardware. I had the correct software versions. Why can’t I get this work? I couldn’t even see the check box to “Allow your Apple Watch to unlock your Mac” in the Security & Privacy tab in System Preference.

I went through the whole turn off “two-step verification” on my iCloud account ( and turned on “two-factor authentication.” A little confusing but I did it as requested. So why can’t I set up using my Apple Watch to log into my Mac? I did everything right.

Well after many google searches and getting really frustrated I found an article on Macworld that had a little coda at the end where the author (Glenn Fleishman) shared his friends work around to this issue. He had to change his messages to use his Apple ID (settings->messages->send &recieve and then turn on “use my Apple ID”) to get everything working correctly. That was it! That fixed it! Why? I have no idea, but it worked. Hope this helps you too.

iPhone users – update to 9.3.3 now!

If you haven’t updated to iOS 9.3.3 yet, update now!

Apple fixed a bug that allowed a hacker to take over your iPhone by simply texting or emailing you a malicious TIFF picture file. The bug was made public after being discovered by Tyler Bohan, a researcher who works for Cisco’s security unit. He discovered that older versions of iOS and OS X contain an exploit that could theoretically allow a media file like a photo or video to defeat built-in software security measures and take over your device. The malformed media file could arrive as an email, iMessage, webpage, or other apps. If the malicious TIFF image is viewed on the device the hacker could gain full control of the device, including accessing passwords without you knowing. Apple has fixed this exploit in iOS 9.3.3. If you haven’t updated yet, you are still at risk.

To update:

  • Go to settings
  • Click on general
  • Then click on software update
  • Then click on download and install the update

An added benefit, I am hearing that after updating to 9.3.3 that some people are seeing performance improvements – a faster iPhone is a good thing 🙂

About the security content of iOS 9.3.3:

What to look for when hiring?

I have built quite a few teams, so over the years I have developed a few general rules when hiring:

Rule 1) I look for self starters. Someone that can show a proven track record of getting things done. As employees they don’t just bring me the problem, but they also bring a possible solution or two.

Rule 2) I look for smart people open to new ideas and perspectives. The best team is a diverse group who aren’t afraid to respectfully discuss new ideas that might lead to a better / faster / cheaper way of getting the job done. People who are open to creative solutions.

Rule 3) I follow the no bozo rule – only hire A players.
Guy Kawasaki described the no bozo rule as “a theory which states that “A” players hire “A+” players [people better than themselves], but “B” players hire “C”, “C” hire “D”, which ultimately leads to a company full of bozos.” I have also observed that a smaller team of A players can produce much more than a larger team of B players in the same amount of time.

Rule 4) I look for hires with long term potential – someone with a passion for learning and professional growth. Are they taking an online class or what are they reading right now? Do they have a blogger they follow? I also understand that sometimes you have a task that needs a person and you need to hire a resource to fill that specific need right now, but that is when you hire a contractor or consultant. I hire my line positions for the long term. A contractor may become a line hire if they prove their worth and are a fit long term. I also look for “fit;” first do they have the skills we need, but also will they fit into our culture (but remember the Rule 2 above, you have to hire people with new ideas and perspectives)?

Rule 5) And part of that "fit" is following the no jerk rule – you can’t have one person disrupting everyone else. Just because you are good doesn’t give you the right to be a jerk. One bad apple can disrupt an entire team. An “A” player isn’t a jerk. To be a true "A" player the candidate should be a team player and work well with others.

And finally, Rule 6) is the candidate passionate about what we are doing? Do they believe in the mission and goals?

If you follow these general rules you are on your way to building a great team.

Wi-Fi Assist – thank you, Apple?

It makes sense – Apple was solving a problem many of us probably didn’t know existed – With wi-fi assist Apple uses your phone’s cellular network to boost your connectivity. And why not? A good cellular connection is just as fast as some wi-fi networks. The issue I have with it is Apple didn’t warn us. My data usage last month was higher than I expected. It took me a while to figure out what changed, but I think this is it. It’s great Apple is speeding my access up, but I wish they had made the impact of this new feature clear!

If you want to turn this feature off it’s pretty straight forward; just a little hidden. First go to settings, then to cellular, scroll all the way to the bottom of the cellular page (all the way) and you will see Wi-Fi Assist right above the reset statistics link. Slide the wi-fi assist button to the left and it will be turned off.

While you are on the cellular page go ahead and look at all the apps that use a cellular connection. Do all those apps need to have access to your cellular network? If not, you can turn off cellular access for the apps you can afford to only give access via wi-fi. For example I only down load movies and tv shows when I am on wi-fi. Things like that.

Hopefully turning off wi-fi assist and limiting some of your apps access to cellular will help keep your data access charges reasonable too.

Your presentations best friend – Do not disturb

So, I love my iPhone and iPad. I have tuned my notifications set up so I have just about the right amount of information that pops up. Normally it’s not overwhelming. Well, until I decided that my iPad was the best presentation device out there. Which it is awesome! I think it is just about perfect.
I just wish I had remembered to manually turn on Do Not Disturb. It’s so easy to do too – just go to Settings then Do Not Disturb (can’t be much clearer can they?) and then manually turn on Do Not Disturb (very first option – just slide that option on). So easy and yet I forgot. Learn from my mistakes – before connecting to that projector manually turn on Do Not Disturb. I know I will from now on…

Another Apple iOS7 security hole

Turn off access to Control Center from the lock screen! It’s not worth the risk. There is another way to bypass the lock screen in iOS7 – if you have a missed call and have access to Control Center from lock screen turned on anyone can have access to whatever app you have running in the foreground. EverythingApplePro has a short video showing the vulnerability

But at least there is an easy fix until Apple comes out with a patch, just turn off access to the Control Center from locked screen for now. Not a huge inconvenience.

Careful when downloading music to your iOS device when using iTunes Match

I use iTunes Match to manage my music across all my devices. It works well and has been pretty seamless for me. Well worth the $25 a year.

Recently I took a short trip to Africa and wanted access to my music while I was disconnected from cellular and wifi while I was in the air, so I took advantage of the ability to download music to your device (iPod, iPhone, or iPad) by clicking on the "download all" from cloud option you can see from playlist, artist, or albums while in the Music app. This made it easy to load up my iPhone with hours (days actually) of music. Wonderful, right?

Well, I am back now and I’d like to free up space on my iPhone for apps. Guess what? There is no option to remove songs in bulk from your device. As far as I can tell the only option I have found to remove music from your device is go to the song you want to remove, swipe to the left and click on delete. And you have to do this one by one for each song you want to remove. So what took only a few minutes to load on my iPhone is going to be very painful to undo.

If you know of an easier / faster way to remove music that has been downloaded locally please let me know (and yes, I know I can recover from an old back up, but I am looking for something cleaner than that if possible)!

My most used iPhone and iPad Apps in 2013

Ok, it’s the end of another year (wow, 2013 went by fast!), so it’s time for another look at what apps I actually used during the year. There are a ton of apps available and new ones are coming out all the time. Honestly I think I have app exhaustion. I just upgraded my iPhone and during the upgrade I took advantage of it to not bring all the apps I had before over to the new phone. Simplify my life a little.

I won’t say these are the best apps or even the coolest apps out there, but they are the apps I use almost everyday. For the iPhone:

  • Evernote – Still my number one app. Evernote is a note taking app that sync’s notes between my laptop, iPhone and iPad. If you do not have it go get it now.
  • Google Search – love the voice search mode, much better than Siri
  • Googe Maps – was using the mobile browser version, but now they have a nice app
  • Google Authenticator – please tell me you have 2-factor security turned on for your gmail
  • Google Chrome – much better browser and it links up to my browser on my laptop
  • Waze – free navigation tool, but I can say on my last few trips during the holidays Waze had issues connecting to it’s routing server so I ended up just using Google Maps. I missed out on the police notifications, but at least Google Maps worked.
  • TripIt – can’t be beat when traveling
  • Kindle – don’t like reading on my phone, but works great on my iPad
  • Dropbox – online storage
  • Box – online storage
  • Skype – I have a remote team so Skype is essential for communication. With DC traffic I end up running late sometimes so I can just open up Skype and dial in (hands free of course) to the Skype call from my phone. I have learned it is better to have someone else start the call when I do this, just in case I drop the call.
  • Keynote, Pages, and Numbers – I hate working on my iPhone, but I can and have in a pinch. Keynote, Pages and Numbers work well and I love them on my iPad and MacBook Pro.
  • Twitter – cause sometimes you just have to share and Facebook keeps changing their privacy policies (I do not even have the Facebook app on my phone).
  • Reminders and Calendar – these are the applications that are native to iOS. I was using apps for this functionality, but Apple has caught up and the native apps they provide more than meet my needs now.
  • Rdio – I have all my music in the cloud (Amazon, Google and iTunes Match) but I still find Rdio handy for music I don’t own and I have been using it more than the iOS Music app lately.

And here are the apps I find I use the most on my iPad at work:

  • Keynote – Apple’s version of PowerPoint
  • Numbers – Apple’s version of Excel
  • Pages – Apple’s version of Word
  • Evernote – note taking app that sync’s notes between my laptop, iPhone and iPad. Again, go get it now if you don’t have it!
  • Skype – IM and web calls
  • Adobe Connect, joinme, and Fuze – online meetings for when we need to screen share
  • Google Search – love the voice search mode, much better than Siri
  • Google Chrome – much better browser and it links up to my browser on my laptop
  • Kindle – I love the feel of a real book, but this way I always have my ebooks with me
  • Dropbox – online storage
  • Box – online storage
  • Feedly – news reader
  • BBC News – for news of course

And on my Mac I find I use:

  • Evernote – sync’s note between all my laptops, my iPad, and iPhone (also works with droid)
  • Google Chrome – best browser out there still
  • Caffeine – let’s me turn off the auto sleep mode when I am giving a presentation
  • Window Tidy – allows me to have screens side by side in an easy quick way. Honestly I haven’t used it much this year…
  • Pocket – allows me to save articles I find to read later
  • Skype – with our distributed team at work we are on Skype all day every day for IM and calls
  • Box and Dropbox – again
  • ClamXav – antivirus for Mac
  • And I find I am actually using the native iOS Calendar and Reminder apps on my MacBook Pro now.
  • Oh, you are using Grab (in the utilities folder under applications)for capturing screen shots, right?

If the apps I use aren’t what you are looking for you can find the Apple Design Award winners from WWDC2013 at (and I agree Letterpress is addictive).  And Apple has their best of 2013 up on the iTunes store now.

Hope the list is helpful. Happy New Year!

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