Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Be Safe on the Internet

I have a couple of topics for this post.  One is regarding the privacy of your email address and the other is regarding telling people about vacations.

No good pictures for this topic, so I'll post some pictures of a quilt I just finished for my son to keep you reading.  I posted this quilt before when I made the top- but I just completed it and gave it to him.

Here's a picture of Paul holding up his quilt.  It's intended to be a throw- for TV watching and such.

This photo shows the backing folded over a block.  Paul has collected license plates since he was little.  I just couldn't resist making a quilt for him with this fabric.  The coordinating fabric used for the block backgrounds is a road map.

A few of the blocks....

 And Jaeger seems to want to pose with every quilt I try to photograph on the floor.  Maybe he just wants to try them out.  :-)

 OK-- that was the fun stuff.  Now the boring stuff with no pictures.... but PULEEZE keep reading....

Let's start with email and no-reply bloggers.  I have several email addresses.  One is very private.  My business email is plastered everywhere I can possibly plaster it.  I also have one for junk.  That's the one that I use for newsletters, when ordering online, for giveaways, etc.  Let's have a little chat about blogging and your email address.  I totally understand if you want to keep your email address off of blog replies.... especially if your email is the same as your work email or if you share it with your spouse or family.  Good grief- it's a scary world out there on the internet!  But you CAN play along on blogs and giveways and such things if you get a second email address.  Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail... and the list goes on and on... all have FREE email.  If you want to purchase online, enter contests, etc, but hold back because you want to maintain your privacy- consider getting an email address for these kinds of things.

Many of the contest entries I get- and just general comments on my posts are so kind and many ask for a reply.  If you are a no-reply blogger (ie, you have stated that you don't want your email to show in your preferences) then I have no way to reply to you!  It breaks my heart not to reply to some of you when I really, really want to respond!  I think that a lot of people select that they don't want their email to show thinking that it will be actually printed.  But what happens is that if I click on your name, I get "no-reply".

I TRY to reply to MOST of the comments made on my blog.  If it's a little one or 2 word comment, or if it's a request to enter a giveaway, I MIGHT not get to replying.  Sometimes I can get 150 comments overnight when I post a giveaway and it just isn't possible for me to send 150 emails right away.  Right now- I am behind.  But in general, if you post a comment I'll eventually reply to you privately in your email.  If you regularly post comments (to me or anyone else) and never ever get any personal replies- you're probably a no-reply blogger.  And chances are, many of you don't realize it.

Here's what you can do to find out.  It's a little different if you are on blogspot or typepad or others.  But you want to look for the words, privacy, or settings, or preferences.  On blogspot, it has a question in the preferences that says, "Show E-Mail Address".  Many people think, "Heck no--- don't show the world my email address!" and they leave that unclicked.  That makes you a no-reply blogger.  That's your choice.  Just know that others won't be able to interact with you.  If you click that you want the address to show, it won't end up on a bill board in Times Square.  It just means that people will be able to reply to you.  If this still bothers you, consider getting a separate email address.  I have good anti-virus software to weed out the really bad guys.  You really do need to invest in the antivirus stuff.  And even though I don't try terribly hard to protect my personal email address, I get very little spam.  Most of it ends up in my address that I use for online stuff like giveaways and online shopping.

If you get an email address for junk- just make sure you check it once in a while because there might be a note in there that you won a blog giveaway!!!  I check my junk email about once a week.

Note- just having a junk mail folder in your regular email box isn't the same thing.

Another note- please, please, please, PLEASE don't mark legitimate advertisements or newsletters as "junk or spam" unless they really are bad guys.  If you do that, the sender is marked as a spammer.  I used to think that the spam box on my email was just a separate folder for junk.  It's not.  Here's how this works:  I have a legitimate business and I send a newsletter to thousands of people about 10 times a year.  People are only on that list if they ASK to be.  (You can sign up for my newsletter on my website).  I pay a newsletter service to manage the list (it's BIG).  I pay for each address it goes to.  They send out my newsletter,  maintain the list, add and delete people as requested, etc.  If you don't want to read my newsletters right away, that's cool.  And if you don't want them any longer you can un-subscribe.  That's fine, too.  But if you mark my newsletter as SPAM, then I get a "black mark" against me with my service.  Too many of them and my service marks me as being "naughty".  It has other implications for me, too.  Well... it's more complicated than that, but you get the idea.  When you ask companies to send you their newsletter, they have to pay their services to send it to you... so don't call them spam.  Just unsubscribe or read them later or create a folder for newsletters in your email and put them there.  Okie dokie?

Second topic.  Or does this make 3 topics?  Vacations.  It just blows me away that people post of facebook and blogs that they are leaving town.  They say when they are leaving and when they are returning.  Why don't they just leave a key under the mat with a red arrow pointing to it?  And sometimes they say that there is a wedding or a funeral and they tell you the time and date.  Why don't they just go onto Craig's List and tell people that everyone who has any business in their house will be at a wedding on Saturday afternoon so some bad guy is free to come in and grab whatever they want that day?  "Hey, Mr. Bad Guy.... I'm going on vacation.  I'll be gone for 2 weeks.  That will give you plenty of time to rent a u-haul and back it up in my driveway and clean me out.  I'll leave the key under the mat for you."

One time, I actually read a blog post where a mom was telling her readers that she is now allowing her adolescent daughter to be home alone after school.  She told everyone that she gave the girl her own door key.  She didn't give her address, but it wouldn't be terribly hard to figure it out because she was pretty open about other things, too.  What was she thinking?!?!?!

OK- I know I'm being tacky here.  I'm really not trying to make fun of you if you've done any of these things (lots of people do).  But honestly- be careful!  Post about your vacation when you return.  And the people who read your tweets and FB updates will enjoy them just as much if you tell them about it after you return.  I really like you guys and I would hate to read on your blog that you were robbed while on vacation.

SO guess what!?!?!?  We JUST got BACK from vacation!  I'll tell you all about it tomorrow. :-)

Thanks for making it to the end of  along and boring post.  Can you tell that I'm passionate about these topics (especially posting about vacations!)?   I promise a fun post tomorrow.


Denise :) said...

Some very, very good points you make. I don't share that I'm going on vacation until I'm back, too! Of course, since we live in our RV and pretty much our home 'vacations' with us, it's not *as* big a deal! LOL! :)

Happy Cottage Quilter said...

Very good advice Sue. I've had to tell my own kids not to post vacations or times we are away on their Facebook. They have never done that, but you know how it is with young people. They like to chat with their friends and before you know it, it's out there. And I enjoy entering a giveaway as much as the next gal, but when a blogger asks for you to post your email address on your comment, I do not enter their giveaway, NO MATTER what it is. I know you can go to a persons profile and find it, but why put it out there in plain black and white??? I recently have been checking my stats and see something unusual. It's like a search engine. I'm not sure what they are searching for but I've been trying to watch any changes.

Quilting Corner said...

This is a wonderful quilt. You did a great job.

Pam said...

I love the fabric you used for your son's quilt. Perfect for him, from the sounds of it. Your advice is right on. I try preaching this to my kids and FB.

I have noticed since I started responding to giveaways and commenting on blogs that my email box is filling up with spam-unfortunate. I do keep a separate email addy for these, but still....

Quilting Corner said...

Thanks for the very good advice about the e-mails. This gave me lots to think about.

Stray Stitches said...

Great quilt!! I really like your travel theme.

I have read several times about people's houses being broken into while they are vacation - and, yes they did write a post or tell everyone on FB. Like you, I don't post about being away until after the fact.
I hope the no-reply bloggers read your blog. I have had people enter my giveaways with absolutely no way to get hold of them. Hopefuly some of them will follow your suggestions. Thanks for a great post.

KCina said...

Amen! I'm still blown away with what people do/don't post on FB especially, but their blogs as well...Great ideas and advice!

Can't wait to hear where you guys went, even if it was a staycation in Oregon! :)

Sue said...

Good to hear from you Kathy C! I can't reply to you since you're a no-reply commenter. :-)

We went to visit our oldest son, who moved last January. (the one with the quilt). We have some great workshops coming up in the guild- wish you had time in your busy life to join us!

KCina said...

okay-now is it working for me? :)

My mom still isn't home yet (she's at a rehab center in FG)...between mom, family, work and my Relay volunteering, life is a wee bit crazier than it has ever been....just blessed that mom is still with us and taking it day by day! :)

Sue said...

Kathy- nope! You're still no-reply. Are you on blogspot? Or something else? I know google and blogspot but don;t know much about typepad, etc. They don't make it easy!

Sounds like your mom is out by our place.

KCina said...

okay--I think I've got it now... yes, I'm SLOW..I've only been blogging since 2006 and have over 2,300 entries, but I'm SLOW.....

Sue said...

LOL- you're not slow!

You're still showing up as no-reply.

Send me an email to sue@alderwoodquilts.com so I can reply to you and we'll get it figured out.

Soggibottom said...

Oh rant ... I love a rant ..... I can also supply a soap box if needed :-) Well done... makes me wonder why when anyone is going away from their house they tell the world too :-)
CONGRATULATIONS Give that lady a well earned rest from the box..
:-) X XX Wish more would say the same thing X
Your quilt is stunning by the way, hours of work. Well done to your son for holding it up.. he loves his mum

Needled Mom said...

I am on the same page as you are. I cannot believe people do that.

I, too, have three e-mails for the very same reason as you do. It works great too.

Love the quilt!!!!

Gene Black said...

I totally agree with you about not posting personal plans. There are too many bad folks looking to find an easy mark. I prefer to be safe. Even with an alarm system, you can never be too sure.

As for the spam, I have on a few occasions tried to unsubscribe from a mailing from a legitimate company and they make it too difficult. (i.e. impossible) Those I do mark as spam. But if unsubscribe is easy, I use it.

Regina said...

very very very very very good advice!

Julie said...

Is there a name for the block you used in the quilt? I really like it and can't recall seeing it before.

QuiltSue said...

You've made some good points in this post, especially about saying you're going on holiday.

As for the spam thing, I never realised that could earn you black marks, I thought it was simply where my browser thingy put stuff from people it didn't think I knew!!

Rosa Robichaud said...


I might advise my readers that I'm going on vacation to a specific area but I do NOT give them the dates!!!

Only exception was last February, when I went to Florida. Dear hubby stayed home and watched the fort. And even then, I fretted about, "What if a nutbar follows me around the country?" Then I figured, "Heck! that same nutbar could probably easily figure out WHERE I live and just come knocking at my door... instead of following me from airport to airport!" LOL

Good advice, Sue!

Love to read your blog!