Oct
25
2011

Finding My Voice

We All Have A Message To Share

Finding My Voice

A week ago I was at a conference and met amazing women. I met funny, smart, beautiful, and amazing women.  I was hoping to go to Blissdom and come out feeling empowered. I wanted to come out feeling like my writing had a little “je ne sais quoi” that resonates with my readers. Unfortunately, I walked out feeling lame, dumb, ugly and far from amazing.

Let me explain.

I’ve never been a popular person. Trust me when I say that this is one of the reasons technology was so attractive to me as a career. I knew that I would be hanging out with the guys, and could hide behind a pair of jeans and sneakers, never having to reveal my feminine side. I could sit and talk about packet switching and storage area networks without worrying about how that would make me sound.

Those closest to me laugh when I say I’m shy, but truthfully I’ve always been happy to sit in the back corner of the room and joke with everyone, letting others take the front stage.  Blogging, Twitter, Facebook, Google+ are all tools that allow me to sit back and jump in on a conversation when I’ve taken a deep breath, formulated my words, and re-read them to myself out loud to make sure they make sense.  Social media is my crutch and gives me the power to feel connected without fully putting myself out there to be laughed at.

I walked nervously into the rooms at Blissdom with the naïve feeling that my message was improving, that I was “building my brand” and this conference would be my springboard to awesomeness. But as I met more beautiful amazing writers, and heard story after life changing story, I felt like a fraud. I realized I was not only out of my element, but that unless I make a change and define what it is I want to tell the world, my words will lose meaning and disappear into the growing filing cabinets of the internet.

I don’t want my brand to be ‘the shy geek chick behind the words’ … or do I? This is my struggle; THIS is what I was hoping to have figured out before I left Toronto.

I spent the train ride back to Ottawa writing the words: "Who am I, what is my message" over and over on my tablet screen hoping to get some inspiration. It was only when my friend Kat sent me this picture of myself and the great Amber Mac that I realized something.

There isn’t just one Tech Mummy, there are hundreds, and that’s Ok. Anyone who is reading this is reading this because they want to, not because they are being forced to.

I am building an audience, and to them my writing means something. (And I love you all for it!)

I’m sure even the smart, funny, beautiful Amber Mac (former Tech Mummy here by the way) has struggled with what will resonate with her audience. I’m sure she’s walked into rooms thinking she didn’t belong.

Our voices (especially female Tech types) should not be silenced. We have a generation of girls who feel lame, dumb, ugly and far from amazing that need to know they are stellar, brilliant, beautiful and beyond amazing.  Every one of us has a message, and it’s up to us to figure out what it is and who it is for.

I can’t change the way my hair flips up on the left, or the fact that I have bags under my eyes that rival Deputy Dog, but what I can and will change is that hopefully, if I’m lucky enough to be sitting on a panel some day, that I will have the courage to spread my message so that someone else in the crowd feels empowered to do the same when their time comes.

I won’t sit back and hide behind my words anymore, and hopefully in a few years, a new writer will be standing beside me after my panel at Blissdom, and someone will take a picture and then blog about it.

Then, I know that my writing meant something.

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Oct
16
2011

My Ultimate Work From Home Tool Kit

How I Bring My Office Home

My Ultimate Work From Home Tool Kit

It’s cold and flu season. I’m not qualified to talk about home remedies, but what I can tell you about cold and flu season is that it always means the occasional day (or 10) of working from home for me. As much as I would love to lie on the couch in my comfy flannel pants watching TV all day, when I’m home sick I still have to spend time in my home office answering emails, printing documents, and scanning my notes to send back to the office for their review.

So what is my ultimate work from home tool kit? It’s actually collection of four things that make my home office integrate seamlessly with my cubicle: Dropbox, Google Docs, Google Cloud Print, and my Kodak Office Hero 6.1 Printer.

Dropbox - Well, I’ve already talked about how much I love Dropbox for sharing files. Dropbox allows me to save a file and work on it from anywhere, without having to connect via VPN. I can use the app on my mobile devices and my files are ready for me when I’m back in the office.

Google Docs - When we bought a new home computer, we had to make a decision on whether to purchase a new license for Microsoft Office or not. We chose not to, and when creating personal docs, we use Google Docs instead. Google Docs is free, and it’s easy to use, and exports and imports easily to most standard formats. It allows me to create files from home even if I left my laptop at the office.

Google Cloud Print - Using Google Cloud Print, I have put my home printer on the web, and made it available to family, coworkers and a few other people. This means that my BFF can print pictures of her son’s birthday party directly to my printer, and my office mate can print a file directly to my home office printer to have waiting for me for my review. I can even print from my iPad or laptop when I’m not in my office.

Kodak Office Hero 6.1 - This printer ties all my other tools together and makes my life even easier. It is a fully networked home office wireless all-in-one printer that allows me to print, copy, scan and fax from one location.

Perfect for keeping in touch with my regular office, the Kodak Office Hero 6.1 allows me to scan up to 35 pages with its automatic document feeder.

It’s also Google Cloud Print ready which allows me to send files wirelessly to the printer from my mobile device or PC. And, I can even share the printer’s unique email address with friends, family, colleagues and clients so they can send me printed files or photos (visit http://www.kodak.com/go/kodakemailprint for details). I can’t think of a better way to use a printer.

I can print double sided (YES!), and with a 200 page document tray, and ability to store 70 pages of photo paper I don’t have to worry about running downstairs and scrambling to look for more paper for that print job my office sent me or the photos my BFF sent me via email. With high quality printing that doesn’t use a lot of ink, and a suggested retail price of $199.99, this printer is the ultimate addition to my home office tool kit at a great price.

You can go to www.kodak.ca to get more info on my office hero, the Kodak Office Hero 6.1, as well as five other new Kodak Hero printers available at various price points.

So, there you have it. Three apps, and the Kodak Office Hero 6.1 all-in-one printer that allow me to connect my home office seamlessly to my cubicle, friends, and family. Cold and flu season, bring it on.  


Check out more YMC
Work at Home Solutions and enter to
win one of three Kodak Office Hero 6.1 All-in-One Printers

 

 

 

 

This blog is proudly sponsored by our friends at Kodak

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Oct
11
2011

How To Spot An Email Scam

Hoaxes, Nigerian Scams and Phishing

How To Spot An Email Scam

I got an email today from a Nigerian king telling me I am the heir to his fortune. 10 minutes later I won a $1,000 Best Buy gift card and the IRS wanted me to update my information.

Ya, right.

There are certain types of emails, Facebook statuses and tweets that I have learned to ignore, and they are ones that you should too. As a general rule of thumb, unless you are truly related to a king in Nigeria or personally know a guy by the name of Dr. Hair, chances are these people would never contact you via email to give you a sack full of money or the cure for male pattern baldness.

In general, emails fall under 3 main types: Hoaxes, Nigerian scams, and phishing. I’m going to try and describe them for you, in hopes that next time you receive one you don’t click on any of the links inside the message or forward it to everyone in your contact list.

HOAXES

Email hoaxes prey on our sensitive sides. They ask us to forward an email about an Amber Alert, missing dog, petitions etc. They might even ask us to forward to everyone in our contact list so that someone can get $0.12 per message. They often contain viruses, and will usually say ‘Please send to everyone in your address book’.

Sample:
“Should you receive a message from XXXX@hotmail.com, do NOT open it.

It is a virus that reformats your PC and, via your Contacts' List, will re-direct itself to them, as well... inviztor

SEND THIS TO EVERYONE
!”

Or

How to know if they are real?

Before forwarding, do a quick Google search for the subject of the email, or an identifying piece of the email. If it claims to be an amber alert, search for the name of the child. If it’s a petition, search for the cause to see if it’s real. When in doubt, do NOT forward the email.


NIGERIAN SCAMS (419 SCAMS)

These promise you money (and a lot of it) if you send them a down payment of some sort. Delete, and do not engage these people.  In many cases there are actual people behind these scams. Aggressive, and smart people. They will find a way to reel you in if you engage them.

Sample:

How to know if they are real?

Quite simply, if they sound too good to be true they are. Delete them and ignore them.  You wouldn’t give a stranger on the street $10,000 if s/he promises to come back 10 minutes later with $3 million, so why would you do it over email?

PHISHING EMAILS

Phishing emails are made to look official, using replicas of existing emails. They use words like ‘Credit score’, to try and trick you into giving up your personal information such as credit card numbers, bank account information, social insurance numbers, and passwords. All of this information can be used at a later date to commit fraud.

Here’s an example of an email I received that looks like it could be legit.


There are a few things wrong with this.

1) I’m not American, so the IRS wouldn’t be sending me anything

2) My 5 year old has better grammar

3) I’m pretty sure anyone doing collections wouldn’t be doing it by emailing my hotmail account

How do you know if they are real?

Here’s a trick I use to find out if links in these emails are legit.  I hover over the link with my mouse then check the address bar below to see what the link is. You can see in this example, I hovered over ‘Click Here’ and the address for a spammer/virus/phishing website popped up below.

If the link went to a website I know and trust I would click on it. Otherwise, the email goes straight to the trash folder.

Remember - trust your gut. If it seems too good to be true it is.

For more information on current scams, you can go to The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (Phonebusters)

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