A Meandering New Year’s Post

Well, it’s taken me nearly the entire month (it gets kinda busy around here at the beginning of the semester, as it turns out) but welcome back everyone and I hope you had a nice relaxing break! Today’s post will reflect my mental state, in that it will be disorganized and touch on only loosely related subjects.

1) Spam email. NOVA’s IT has been working overtime to advise us about the many dud emails showing up in our boxes. This is called “Phishing” and is something I covered in this blog a few months ago. Here is the link to that post: http://blogs.nvcc.edu/fsrc/?p=84. If you’re not feeling up to another post, here’s my helpful checklist for spam emails:

  • If someone asks for personal information via email, do not email it to them. If you think it might be a real request and it’s from a business, call. Even if it’s from your friend, call. Like, on the phone.
  • If there are typos or bad grammar in the email, that is a big red flag indicating it may be a scam email.
  • Just because there’s a company logo in the email or you click on a link that takes you to a website, doesn’t mean it really comes from that company. Just because the email address looks like it comes from a legitimate business doesn’t mean it does. All of these things can be easily faked in an email.
  • Be suspicious of generic greetings like “Dear Customer”.
  • Most businesses will not threaten to close down an account if you don’t provide them with personal information. They WANT you to keep your account!
  • If it sounds too good to be true, it is.
  • If you feel weird about an email, even if you don’t know why, trust your instincts and don’t reply. Better safe than sorry!

2) Copyright. Shirley Nuhn and I did a training on copyright for educators during the Power Up Your Pedagogy conference in early January and hope to offer it in more venues in the near future. The original blog post is here: http://blogs.nvcc.edu/fsrc/?p=41. I also found this cool resource today: http://nationalparalegal.edu/public_documents/courseware_asp_files/patents/menu_patents.asp

3) Lastly, a good article on the top 10 good tech habits everyone should have. Developing these habits can save you from the many pitfalls of computer use and ownership. And yes, the last one is true! http://lifehacker.com/5978861/top-10-good-tech-habits-everyone-should-have