Gadgetress Tales

Apps, Tech & Modern Things

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September 23, 2014
by Gadgetress
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Falling for Modern In Denver

Hello all you modern-design enthusiasts — the fall issue of Modern in Denver is now available!

It’s the thickest issue yet and it’s come a long way from the summer of 2010, when I first spotted it at the Denver Modernism show a few years back. That’s when I first met William Logan, who started this publication from scratch out of his lovely mid-century modern home. When he found out I was a writer, he asked me to write. I’ve been the regular “Field Study” contributor (plus a few other pieces) ever since. I am about to start a new job (more on that later) but I hope to continue writing this cool-product section. It gives me a chance to explore modern design, meet creators and expand my knowledge.

Back to the fall issue: There are a lot of whimsical products in the regular “Field Study” section that I pen. Some call the genre happy modern. I call it I-want-this modern! Like these:

The issue has lots of features of houses I want to live in and office spaces I want to have. Plus, a profile on Boulder Architect Harvey Hine. I really love how the magazine focuses clearly on Colorado and what’s new, but also reminds us of how local modern design was influenced in the past.

If you can, pick up an issue at your local Whole Foods, Tattered Cover and a few other spots around town.

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September 17, 2014
by Gadgetress
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Frumpy Mom gets an update: A responsive website

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Not so frumpy anymore!

One thing I’ve delved deeper into in recent years is the mechanics of WordPress. The software is easy to use and, for the most part, it makes sense. I attempt to move all my friends to WordPress, especially the ones who think they don’t know anything about technology. I just wrapped up a relatively easy update to my friend Marla Jo Fisher. She’s a long-time journalist in Southern California and she writes the popular Frumpy Middle-Aged Mom” column for The Orange County Register.

I worked with Marla for at least 8 years before we became friends. And that was due to some odd decision by management to physically move the technology team (umm, that was just me) out of the business department and pair me up with the education team. Marla was covering higher education and writing Frumpy Mom on the side. She was one funny lady! My favorite column was probably also a very difficult one for her: She found out she had a brain tumor. Her response? “I can’t have a brain tumor. I’ve got dinner on the stove!

She needs to write a book. (And I bet she could crowdfund it!)

Back to her revamped blog. She did give me several options of sites she liked. But the themes were several years old. So, I showed her a simpler, un-frumpy theme called … Marla. She loved it! She’s even easier to work with than WordPress!

But really, I chose the theme because it’s:

The minimalist Marla theme

1. Responsive, as in, the site responds to the size of your screen. The blog should look clear and legible no matter if you’re viewing it on a computer monitor, iPad or smartphone.

2. Widget friendly. Half the boxes on the front page are WordPress widgets. The top three use the Better RSS widget and automatically update anytime Marla writes a new column elsewhere. The boxes below the widgets are any new posts she writes just for her new blog. Technically, she doesn’t need to do another thing and her blog will still look different every day (so long as she continues to write at the Register).

3. Flexible header. Everyone likes a unique look, especially Frumpy Mom. The lovely Samantha Gowen designed the sunset logo. The theme’s flexible header allows the blog title to shrink or enlarge, depending on the reader’s screen size. Of course, if you tweak any code within a theme or plugin, make a note of it because future updates will wipe out your work.

4. It’s name. Marla. Was it fate? It’s minimal, bold and blue, my favorite color. We tweaked all the colors and simplicity though to suit Marla’s tastes. And we may add back a photo of Marla with her classic frumpy hat. But that’s the beauty of WordPress. Tweak, update and done!

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September 5, 2014
by Gadgetress
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How recruiters think and other job tips

10600496_837449519621597_3127249337294903816_nIf you’ve ever applied for a job you spotted online, you know the agony. Did I have the right key words? Am I one of hundreds, no, thousands of applicants? Did someone even look at my resume?

And then the agony goes away because after your umpteenth application, you stop wondering. You just submit the same old resume and cover letter, changing little if anything.

Don’t get like that. Recruiters I interviewed for a Labor Day job series in the U-T San Diego newspaper, were adamant that yes, they look at every, single application (though some more briefly than others). They focus on the resume and want to mostly know this: Are you qualified?

I contributed several stories to the U-T’s special section but one of my favorites was interviewing local recruiters — the first eyes on an applicant’s resume. If they like what they see, they move it on to the position’s hiring manager. So, how do you get past that first step? Take a look at my stories (and other ones that were also quite helpful):

Read:

More from the series:

September 4, 2014
by Gadgetress
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Confused about cloud security? Start with common sense

firstDenverPostWhen I spotted the weekend’s headlines of female celebs’ private photos unleashed online by hackers, I thought, here we go again. I didn’t plan to dwell much further on celebrity nude photos. Then on Tuesday, the Denver Post business editor called, asking me to write a consumer-focused story on cloud security. How could I say no?

I immediately reached out some of my old computer-security contacts, plus a few new local ones, to get up to date with cloud security. Yes, the Cloud — the amorphous entity that appears to be all knowing and omnipresent, yet potentially hackable. As it turned out, Apple said that nope, iCloud was not hacked, at least not in this celebrity-photo case.

Nevertheless, if you like to take photos, share them online and mindlessly back up files online in the Cloud, there is always a security risk. We use the cloud because our smartphones don’t have enough space to store all those selfies — or we want the convenience of accessing them on our phones, laptops and tablets. It’s (mostly) seamless. You don’t even have to think about it. I’m betting that very few iPhone users think about what is actually in the iCloud. I’m not even sure if a majority understand that iCloud lives outside their phone.

I like what Jonathan Sander, the strategy and research officer at STEALTHbits Technologies, told me:

“I guarantee that half the celebrities didn’t even know their photos were in the cloud,” Sander said. “If you asked them if they trust their nude photos in the cloud, I’m sure they would not.”

There are still ways to be smart about your photos and files. New technology in the form of two-step authentication is one extra layer of security that can make your account less attractive to hackers. Apple’s Two-Step Verification, which was introduced last year, requires users to verify accounts using a password and a special code. Google also offers it, as does Microsoft, Dropbox and nearly every company offering cloud storage.

But when it comes down to it, protecting your digital life means using common sense and being aware of what you have out in the Cloud. As Sander told me, “Do I trust the cloud to what? To store my vacation photos? Yes. Do I trust it to store my birth certificate and passport? Probably not.”

So, there you have it. My freelance debut for The Denver Post — on the Front Page too! All thanks to celebrities who take naked photos with their iPhones.

Read the story:

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July 29, 2014
by Gadgetress
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Summer Modern and other Good Things

Check out the summer issue of Modern in Denver for a few pieces of my work. Of course, there is the regular “Field Study” section of fine products. If you need a PDF of this, let me know.

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Also, take a look at a few other sections I contributed to:

HIT PLAY! (Music gadgets)

 

HOP ON! Urban Bike Riding roundup:

Ingredients (not the main piece on Beets, which I love, but the writeups of other products):

 

 

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