Sunday, September 2, 2012

Blogger Meetup - Elizabeth; and Protecting your Blog

If you usually skip meetup posts, but have a blog of your own, please read below about how to protect your blog.

Yesterday, the first day of Labor Day weekend, included a meetup with Elizabeth of SEWN. Elizabeth recently moved from New York city, where she got to hang out with some of my favorite bloggers, Carolyn and Claudine, to southern California, and she planned a mini getaway to the Bay.

When planning our outing, Elizabeth deferred to me to select our shopping destination. Recently my favorite SF fabric store (Fabrix) has been a bit lackluster, so I suggested we meet at Stone Mountain and Daughter in the east bay, followed by a visit to Piedmonth Fabrics, less than 3 miles away.

It was so great to meet Elizabeth and her host friends! Stephanie, of The Dashing Eccentric, had seen my mention of the meetup yesterday and was quickly able to join us. Then, who should recognize my laugh across the store, but Jillian, who was serendipitously visiting her local fabric store, not yet having seen my post. Jillian was wearing a gorgeous Nikko jacket I had never seen in person and I am sorry we didn't get photos as she didn't follow us to Piedmont.

Elizabeth scored some wonderful goodies, which she has blogged about. (I didn't buy anything, other than a piece of fabric on behalf of Margy.)

After Piedmont, Elizabeth, her two host friends, and I retired to Barneys for some light refreshment. For me, it was an Oreo milkshake, a rare treat.

Now that Elizabeth is on the west coast, I hope to see her more often!

How to Protect Your Blog

Last night, Dixie (an incredibly creative blogger, btw) let me know that my blog had "disappeared". I ran to log in and discovered that, due to suspicious activity, blogger had shut it down. Meaning that some troll hacked my password and attempted some nefarious activity, probably attempting to hijack the blog.

This is a scary thing to a blogger who has put a lot of work into a blog. But I was saved from disaster and I want to share a few tips on how to protect your own work.

First, I have to thank Carolyn of HandmadeByCarolyn. A similar thing happened to her blog last December. When she managed to recover it, she shared that she had heightened her blog's security using her smart phone. You can tie your account to authentication software on your smart phone, at least in Blogger. (I don't know about Wordpress or other blog software, but they probably have something similar.)

After reading about Carolyn's experience, I immediately set this up for my own blog using my iPhone. It's a bit of a pain because I do have to periodically use a code provided by the authentication app on my phone in order to log in, but I can tell you that it's worth the minor inconvenience. Upon entering the code, my blog was immediately restored and nothing was lost, not even recent comments.

So, here are my tips for protecting your blog. If you have other tips to share, please mention them in the comments.

  • Use a strong password on the account connected to your blog. It should include lowercase and uppercase characters, numbers and punctuation. My password is now much stronger. An example of a strong password, which is still easy to remember: whenD0weEat?At8?
  • If your blog software supports it, tie your account to authentication software on your cell phone.
  • Backup your blog. I back mine up periodically and I backed it up again last night. In Blogger, go to your blog's dashboard, and then Settings -> Other. Click the Export Blog button, which brings up a dialog to save a copy of your blog to your hard drive, as an XML file. If you plan to migrate your blog elsewhere, you would use this file, but it also serves as a backup. (The XML file is human readable, which is an advantage if you want to extract a specific posting.)

Thanks again, Carolyn!! I owe you! If you ever come to SF, I'll drive you anywhere you want to go.

What are my vegetables trying to tell me? (By the way, I did cook a couple weeks ago, the first time this year!)