WordPress is under attack and your self-hosted site may well be in the crosshairs of people with nefarious intent. I’d like to shed some light on what’s going on, how to protect yourself against becoming a victim, and what to do if you’re hacked.
A bot-what-now attack?
Over the last couple of weeks, WordPress sites all over the world have been subjected to an unprecedented attack. Botnets—essentially thousands or millions of infected computers working in tandem—are executing brute-force attacks on self-hosted WordPress sites, attempting to log into administrator accounts, and taking over the sites. A brute-force attack is when a computer tries to log in using every password under the sun. While this would take forever for a human, a computer can make hundreds or even thousands of attempts per minute and eventually stumble upon the correct user name/password combination. This is one of the most extensive and wide-reaching botnet attacks ever recorded and it’s targeting all kinds of sites, from personal blogs to enterprise solutions.
Continue reading ‘WordPress under attack: How to protect yourself…’
This week’s edition of Monday Productivity Pointers covers all things Dropbox. Dropbox is a cloud storage and file syncing service offering users 2GB of space for free to hold, sync, and share files with others. You can access your files at any time via a web browser, and there are also desktop, tablet, and smartphone editions.
In the first video, I show you how easy it is to install Dropbox on a desktop and immediately start syncing files and folders.
Continue reading ‘Monday Productivity Pointers: Collaborating with Dropbox…’
As you no doubt know by now, Adobe has started to reveal some plans for its next generation of pro video tools. I’ve had the privilege of working with a pre-release version of Adobe After Effects, and recorded two hours of lynda.com training about it. In this blog, I’ll give you an overview of the Refine Edge tool, an important addition to the Roto Brush technology that will make rotoscoping hair and other soft, detailed areas much easier than ever before.
Roto Brush and Refine Edge
The Roto Brush tool in After Effects has been significantly upgraded with the addition of a companion Refine Edge tool. To review, Roto Brush allows you to make a series of general paint strokes defining the foreground and background areas of an image (such as an actor over a complex background—in other words, not green screen). With this information, as well as judicious tweaking of its propagation parameters, Roto Brush then detects the edge between the foreground and background, and creates a matte. When used properly (as demonstrated in my course After Effects Apprentice 13: Paint, Roto, and Puppet), it can greatly reduce the labor involved in cutting elements out of video.
Continue reading ‘After Effects Technology Preview: Part 2…’
Prezi, if you haven’t heard yet, is the hot new presentation tool that’s sweeping the screens at events like TED and SXSW. It’s an alternative to boring PowerPoint presentations, it’s free to use, and you can present live or host your presentations on Prezi.com for the world to see.
While Prezi’s zooming and panning features bring your presentations to life, using video can add even more richness, engagement and meaning—and it’s simple to do.
Two ways to add video to a Prezi
You can add video to your prezi in two ways: link to a video on YouTube, or upload a video file directly from your hard drive and embed it into your prezi. In both cases, the video player is placed right on your canvas, and you can resize and place it wherever you like in your presentation.
Continue reading ‘Up and Running with Prezi: Embedding video in your presentation…’
Learn how to create realistic beaded water droplets and composite them on top of a background photo in Adobe Photoshop with this week’s Deke’s Techniques. The crux of the technique is a simple black and white, almost ink-blot-like pattern, which Deke creates from scratch with a combination of Photoshop filters and adjustment layers. No drawing required! To this pattern you can add styles that transform it into spilled water, ink, soda, or any other liquid.
Follow along with Deke in this week’s free video and use the companion text below to help with each step.
Continue reading ‘Deke’s Techniques: Creating synthetic water droplets…’
This week in Monday Productivity Pointers, I explain how to track your finances with Mint.com.
Mint.com is a secure, read-only site that inputs all your line-item transactions from your financial institutions (like auto loans, school loans, checking and savings accounts, investments, and mortgages) and outputs them in an easy-to-read format so you can see how your money is really doing.
In the first video I’ll show you some strategies I used when I migrated my accounts to Mint.com. It involves setting up online accounts for the financial institutions you want to view on Mint.com, and setting up rules for your recurring transactions so you don’t need to re-categorize them each time they occur.
Continue reading ‘Monday Productivity Pointers: Managing your finances with Mint.com…’
Adobe has started to reveal some plans for its next generation of pro video tools. Using a prerelease version of After Effects, I’ve recorded two hours of videos for lynda.com to keep you ahead of the curve. Over the course of a few blogs, I’ll fill you in on some of the interesting features that are on tap. First up, the new integration between After Effects and CINEMA 4D.
Live 3D pipeline between After Effects and CINEMA 4D
A couple of weeks ago, Adobe and MAXON issued a press release announcing a “strategic alliance … to bring creative professionals new levels of digital media content creation.” Buried inside that release was the intriguing statement that “As part of the alliance, both companies are expected to collaborate and engineer a pipeline between Adobe After Effects software and CINEMA 4D to give users a seamless 2D/3D foundation.” Now we can finally see what they were hinting at.
Continue reading ‘After Effects technology preview: Part 1…’