Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Security Breach Alert: Change Passwords Now!

"Computer Hacker" by chanpipat
Just this evening, I read an email sent from Nuffnang, a blog advertising community, urging bloggers to change their Nuffnang passwords due to hacking issue. Whether you receive that email or not, if you are a Nuffnang member, take the time to change your password.

Several years ago, I find hacking cool. But now, I realize that there is really nothing cool about it. It's plain act of theft that should be punishable by law. I'm sorry Mat Honan but I totally disagree with you for letting those hackers go. They have wrecked your life! They deleted the photos of your daughter--those years of treasured memories, accessed your Twitter account and deleted your Gmail! Oh, com'on, man!

Last June, we've heard of LinkedIn's stolen passwords. Almost 6.5 million passwords were said to be hacked and posted in a hacker site. Though most of the passwords were undecoded, "small subset of the hashed passwords was decoded and published." LinkedIn locked down those accounts they believed were compromised and notified those members to change their passwords.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Trust Your Gut Feeling: Spotting A Fraud Or Delinquent Client

Photo by David Castillo Dominici
Call it gut-feeling, intuition or instinct, you got to trust on it especially in our kind of business. As freelancers or independent contractors, we need to hone this skill of "knowing" to spot a potential scammer or delinquent client/employer.

I came across this post: One the best things a freelancer or sole trader can posses is sharp senses that made me realize how stupid I once was. I have to admit it, I was lured and victimized by a notorious client who left a project with all the freelancers unpaid. I won't be divulging the details of the project nor the company (it looks like a big company and a subsidiary of a much bigger company). It is very unfortunate that I had to work with an employer with terrible business practice. I filed a complaint through oDesk, whose staff were very helpful. But I guess, I should be taking matters into my own hands now. I'll give one more push before I totally rest this case.

Always remember that as freelancers, we choose whom to work with. We have the liberty to say NO to a project or a job.

Be wary of these type of clients:

  • who refused to pay a 50% escrow or upfront payment
  • who keeps changing his or her instructions
  • who doesn't communicate often

Before starting any project make sure to be clear with your terms. If a client is really serious of getting your service, he/she will agree with your terms. If not, then move on. 

If a client is offering you a job that is too good to be true, follow your instinct--it's not true.

What are your thoughts on this? Feel free to comment or share your experience. Thank you!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Virtual Assistants, Sub-standard Homes and Climate Change in the Philippines

Photo Credit:  REUTERS/Cheryl Ravelo

The Philippines made it to the international news again as millions of Filipinos are affected with the onslaught of nearly 2 weeks non-stop monsoon rain. Many areas in the National Capital Region and the nearby provinces were flooded. Forty-nine people were reported to have drowned and died as of August 9, 2012. It’s a sad plight of the Filipinos—really sad to see this happening again.

All of these happened while I was inside my home barely going out due to the strong rain and because I was doing a research paper for a client. It was so timely because the research was all about building passive design homes. In simplest term, it means building homes with consciousness about human nature and the climate.

I experienced a momentary black out while doing my paper. But that was about it. The rain didn’t affect my work. I thought of other virtual assistants who are affected by this weather—those who are flooded or doesn’t have electricity. I wonder if some of them were able to communicate what’s going on to their clients who are in different parts of the world.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Are You Actively Linking on LinkedIn?

Several months ago, I had this research project that required me to look up for some decision makers in US-based companies (private equity firms, to be precise). I rummage the entire web only to find out that I could have taken a shorter route and went straight to LinkedIn where most of the DM's profile were there.

It surprise me a bit because, honestly, I never expect that majority of my searches would be coming from LinkedIn. That project has changed how I viewed Linkedin. I need not read articles that justify how significant Linkedin is for marketers and business, I know it as a fact--first hand experience.

Since then, I updated my LinkedIn profile. Though, I must admit, I am not well-versed with the social media site because most of the time my focus has been in Twitter and Facebook.

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