Top Ten Reasons Your Client Dropped You Like a Ton of Bricks

Posted: May 24th, 2010

There’s nothing like true client relationships. Yet one second you’re riding high from the hefty paychecks and the next second, poof. Gone. Nothing left but a polite email wishing you well but your services are no longer needed. The only thing we ask is why have you done so on thee? Here are the real reasons:

10. Convinced you were cheating with other clients.

9. Knows you’re a gold digger looking out for another with more money.

8. Seems to think you have some sort of time commitment issues.

7. Couldn’t afford you any longer.

6. Saw misspelling in portfolio. Instant deal-breaker.

5. Felt you weren’t giving enough (white) space.

4. Couldn’t get over finding out about those bad porno websites you made some years back.

3. “Sorry, you’re just not working out for me.”

2. Long lost freelancer suddenly came back into the picture.

1. You never called. EVER!

The Week In Freelance: May 21st

Posted: May 21st, 2010

The Week In Freelance: May 14th

Posted: May 14th, 2010

Holy Hackers! WordPress Users Be On The Lookout

Posted: May 12th, 2010

Image by Josh Self (Flickr)

Image by Josh Self (Flickr)

It seems that hackers have been on the offensive in past couple of weeks targeting self-hosted WordPress blogs. I mean we’re talking all out war here.

The scary part?

Rather than going for the WordPress installation on individual websites, these hackers target installations on hosting servers meaning the reach is widespread. Even worse… the big boys of the hosting providers have been affected: GoDaddy, Network Solutions, DreamHost and Media Temple.

If you do not use any of these companies to host your WordPress, you still aren’t out of the woods yet. Many reseller hostings use these companies as their primary hosting. Plus, with the frequent waves that these attacks keep coming, it’s only a matter of time before they reach other hosts.

In other words, be on the lookout if you have a self-hosted WordPress blog.

Even this instance, as I write, GoDaddy is dealing with another new server exploit wreaking even havoc on more WordPress blogs.

The Culprit

Blogs affected from a breached host server are infected with scripts that redirect visitors from your website to another website that infects the visitor’s computer with malware. I happened to have come across one of these infected websites by chance and you’ll notice that the browser window closes and a message pops up asking you if you want to download an anti-virus.

First of all, update your virus definitions since visiting an infected website will infect your computer with a harmful malware. Then if you notice that your own blog appears infected and redirects to a blank page or you receive a message to download anything, stop. Do not click Yes or OK.

If your blog is infected, don’t panic. The malware can be removed by following instructions on this page.

Be Alert

Unfortunately, there’s not much that can be done on your part to prevent these server attacks except hide in your basement with a shotgun. OK, a little too much but just be prepared. It helps, though, to keep up to date with the latest server exploits at WPSecurityLock.com so you know if trouble is in the neighborhood.

Now would be a great time for that backup , too, wouldn’t it?

The Week In Freelance: May 7th

Posted: May 7th, 2010

Finally! Stop Forgetting About Your Backups

Posted: May 5th, 2010

Photo by JS.C (Flickr)

Photo by JS.C (Flickr)

Here’s an eternal question for you. How often do you perform a backup of important files on your computer?

Weekly? Whenever you get around to it?

If you’re like me, you would fall into the “oh shit it’s been a while better do one” category. Obviously this is highly fallible since, potentially, I could lose quite a lot of work in case a catastrophe happens. Really though, if you back up even once a week, there could still be a loss of data in case your hard drive decides to retire.

Losing data has happened to me exactly two times. One from hard drive failure and the other due to theft. I can tell you first hand that spending a week trying to recover a small portion of your data trully sucks.

I can also say it’s a safe bet that this will happen to you at some point (I just jinxed you).

At the start of this year, though, I began to use online backup services to handle this chore too easy to remember to do yourself. Online backups offer the advantage of backing up data automatically and on a daily basis. Also, once all your files are initially uploaded, from then on, they only backup new or updated files and don’t hog all the memory on your computer

Now, I only wish I had done this sooner.

So what are online backup services? Here are some of the recommended favorites:

Carbonite

This was my choice and I haven’t been disappointed by it. One great feature is that it saves changed versions of files for up to 90 days so you can easily recover those edits you didn’t intend to make.

The only downside is that it can only be used on a single computer. Therefore, if you have a desktop at home and a laptop for the road, you’ll need two separate accounts. Also, you have to manually backup video and installation files since this isn’t done by default.

Pricing is 55 USD/year for unlimited space.

Mozy

Since Carbonite only backs up a single computer, I utilize Mozy, which offers a free backup up to 2 GB, for my laptop. Otherwise the pricing is 4.95 USD/month (or 55 USD/yearly) for unlimited space. If you don’t have so much data this is the best option.

Similar to Carbonite, Mozy saves changed versions of files but for up to 30 days. It also can only be used on a single computer, a gripe I have with online backups.

SOS Online Backup

A PC Magazine editor’s choice. SOS offers an easy-to-use interface, backup multiple computers, file sharing (not offered with Carbonite/Mozy) and, not to mention, saves changed file versions forever.

A downside to SOS, though, is that it only offers up to 15 GB of storage which means you’d have to skip those mp3s and videos.

Pricing is yearly at 20 USD/2 GB, 30 USD/5 GB and 50 USD/15 GB.

Jungle Disk

If you need the ability to share files, backup multiple computers and want the ability to retrieve an old file version from anytime in the past with unlimited space, this one is it. Its essentially SOS with no limit storage. Had I known about this service sooner, I probably would have opted for this.

Their pricing structure is a bit weird so crunch the numbers at your own risk:

2 USD/month
Plus $.15 per GB of storage used per month
Plus $.10 per GB of data uploaded
Plus $.15 per GB of data downloaded

* * *

Whichever one you decide, or if you even use one not listed here, take my advice and have one installed. One less worry (and one less bigger worry after data loss) makes all the difference.

For more information on Carbonite, Mozy and SOS, view PC Magazine’s detailed review of these backups.

Top Ten Reasons Why Freelance Marketing Efforts Haven’t Gone As Planned

Posted: May 3rd, 2010

It’s a safe bet that if you are freelancing, you are pretty good at what you do. Marketing yourself, however, is probably a whole different story. Well, here are the top ten reasons why marketing efforts don’t go as well as you like, just in case they happen to pop into your head:

10. Neighbors weren’t home.

9. 10 year layaway plan wasn’t such a great idea.

8. Damn Wal-Mart undercutting my newspaper ads!

7. Too many clients taking advantage of $1 happy hour.

6. Having trouble cashing in food stamps.

5. Maybe Facebook photos of that donkey incident in Tijuana had something to do with it.

4. Post-Christmas sale wearing out its welcome.

3. The economy. Yeah, it’s the economy’s fault!

2. No one going for free toaster with purchase.

1. Keep forgetting to leave business cards in public toilets.