Phishing = Fraud

Some of you may know that I serve as a reviewer for the SANS OUCH newsletter. The next issue will deal with the subject of phishing. I thought it might be appropriate to also add a little information in my weblog about this topic. Perhaps you will enjoy reading this as you digest your Thanksgiving left overs…

First, I have an issue with cute words like phishing. Such euphemisms tend to hide the fact that this is another word for fraud (pure and simple – fraud or attempted fraud). For those who use email (and who doesn’t these days), who monitor websites, or use social media, you will encounter this drivel. As the holidays approach, I suspect the amount of attempted junk will only increase. So, why do people send out this junk? Read more »

UX Rebels Summit overview

I had the opportunity to participate in the UX Rebel’s Summit this week [Nov. 17, 2015] (hosted by Christopher Schmitt). I found this to be a great online event and wanted to share some insights and thoughts from the event. Keep in mind, I have 189 pages of screen captures and notes associated with this event. These are some of the highlights. One of the features I liked was that learning objectives were provided for each session. The speakers were engaging and very knowledgeable. There were 7 session in all. The links below direct you to each presenter’s Twitter profile.

  1. Designing your UX portfolio by Ian Fenn
  2. Tools and gadgets for research by Annette Priest
  3. Designing for happiness by Pamela Pavliscak
  4. Designing your design team by Alberta Soranzo
  5. Accessibility is usability by Patrick Fox
  6. 9 ways to guide people with design by Jennifer Tang
  7. UX is UI by Mike Atherton

I will cover each of these sessions in more depth. Read more »

Mobile App Development with BlueMix – part 5

Last week, I focused on using the IBM BlueMix facility to create a simple Hello World app which pings the IBM BlueMix server instance you created. Those looking for my previous posts on BlueMix can find them linked below (in reverse chronological order):

Assuming you have been following along, you now have a working Android Studio environment on your computer. We are now going to create a more complex application. Read more »

Mobile app development with BlueMix – part 4

I have been covering the IBM BlueMix facility in several weblog posts. These are linked below (in reverse chronological order):

For those who have been following these posts, we should now have a solid understanding of the fundamentals of working with this online facility. Students in our CMWEB 280 class are also exposed to using Android Studio. I thought it would be useful to cover the fundamentals of working with BlueMix and Android Studio. Read more »

Techsmith Fuse

I often need to take screen captures on mobile devices and then annotate and share them with students. One of the tools I use for this is Techsmith Fuse.

TechSmith Fise in the AppStore

I like it because it is very simple to use. I take a screen capture on a mobile device, open Fuse, and share it with either Camtasia Studio (it is stored in the clip bin) or the SnagIt editor. Obviously, you need either Camtasia or SnagIt on your desktop to fully use Fuse. The mobile app itself is free (and available for Android, iOS, and Windows devices – via the appropriate store). Read more »

Mobile app development with Bluemix and Kinetise

I am amazed at the different ways one can readily create apps for mobile devices these days. Adobe Phonegap (and Phonegap Build) is a great solution. IBM’s Bluemix offering with the Kinetise service is another. I previously provided an overview of Bluemix and covered Cloud Foundry integration. Using the Kinetise service allows for rapid development of an app prototype without writing a single line of code. As with PhoneGap, one simply generates a QR code which can be scanned by your mobile device to install the developed app. Alternately, a custom web address is provided so one can download from a browser on a mobile device. Let’s see how we can quickly develop a mobile app using Kinetise and Bluemix. Read more »

Acrobat enhancements

Adobe recently released some improvements to Acrobat DC (Document Cloud).  I thought I would focus on one I find particularly useful. Specifically, you can take an image of a document with your smartphone camera and process the document as if you scanned it (and convert text as needed). I find this simply amazing and wanted to share. Read more »

Photoshop Fix

Adobe recently (October 5, 2015) released a new iOS app called Photoshop Fix. I have been experimenting with this tool for a while and find it very helpful for quick edits to images using just my iPad. Of course, for more complex edits, one can always share the image from Photoshop Fix to Photoshop on your desktop (via the Adobe Creative Coud). I find the most beneficial aspects of this tool include the ability to quickly do a “red eye reduction” and to use liquify. I admit it, I have  grandsons. When taking a family photo on my phone, one is often not smiling. Liquify is a quick way to remedy that situation. I can simply modify their facial expression to include a smile (no need to take another photo).

In my opinion, tablets and smartphones are coming into their own as devices which can be used as part of a creative workflow. Whether photography or web design is involved, we can use mobile devices to quickly make changes and review those changes with our clients (in almost real time). These capabilities are causing me to start re-thinking how I incorporate these tools into my discussions about workflows in various classes.

Let’s take a look at some of the capabilities. I have also included some screen recordings. I am using Wipster for these so you can readily comment directly on the video itself. Please use your real name and include a comment in this weblog (with your email address) if you want me to get back to you. Let’s see what we can do with Photoshop Fix. Read more »

Rules to think about

We are near the midpoint of the fall semester at school. From time to time, I observe certain things and thought it might be helpful to put these together as a set of “rules” to think about – particularly for students in the CMWEB program at school. Of course, these also apply to others. I present these in no particular order, but they come from years of experience (OK, decades of experience). Perhaps some apply, perhaps some don’t. Use them as you see fit. Read more »

Displaying your tablet on a desktop

Although I have made several prior weblog posts on this topic, I thought it might be appropriate to revisit this in light of iOS 9 and Windows 10 being generally available. For reference purposes, here are two of the prior posts I have made on this topic.

Given that it is now 2015, it would seem that one must be able to display the contents of your tablet or smartphone on your desktop/ laptop in a consistent manner. My intent is to provide you with additional information and alternatives as they presently exist. I am now using native capabilities when working with my Mac and Reflector 2 when using my Windows 10 laptop. Let’s investigate these approaches in a bit more detail. Read more »

BlueMix part 2

A few months ago, I did a brief overview of the IBM BlueMix facility. Now that we are starting to cover mobile app development in earnest in our CMWEB 280 class, I thought it might be appropriate to revisit the facility and discuss it in a bit more detail. There may be additional posts in the coming weeks. First, let’s start with the basics. We need to get a Node.js environment up and running. We can then work on mobile apps (and even convert existing web pages into mobile apps). So, let’s see what it takes to get a Node.js environment up and running in BlueMix. Read more »

Dark Web Overview

Based on a recent article in Wired Magazine, I thought it might be helpful to touch on the “dark web” a bit.  After all, I do teach CMWEB 270 (Web Application Security) and often talk about the dark alleys on the Internet. But, first, a few disclaimers. Seriously. I do not condone nor support the illegal use of computer resources in any manner. Laws exist for a reason. I am providing this information for educational purposes only. Should you choose to use anything in this post for malicious purposes, I will be glad to testify against you in court. I hope this is sufficiently clear to everyone reading this. That being said, you should know a little about it (without risking exposure to malicious sites and there are a lot of them). Keep in mind the current estimate is that the deep web (including the dark web) is 550 times larger than the visible web. This is the content not indexed by standard search engines.

So, let’s learn a little about the dark web. First, many sites will appear to have a top level domain of .onion. [This link takes you to a Wikipedia article about this “domain.”] Dot onion is a [not so] subtle reference to TOR (The Onion Router). You need to be part of the TOR network in order to access these resources.  These are not valid top level domains. They are 16 letter and number hashes (numbers from 2 – 7) representing an 80 bit number in base 32. In theory, you can replace any .onion address with and still visit the site (of course, you won’t have as much anonymity).

Next, in order to access these resources, you need a browser which can connect to the TOR network. Surprisingly, there is a variant of Firefox which does just that.  Read more »

Captivate Draft

Adobe recently released a new version of Captivate (9) for both Mac and Windows computers. Along with the desktop version, there is now a free iOS app available – Captivate Draft. Essentially, this allows you to create learning modules in environments where a laptop might be impractical. You can also collaborate with others as you develop a learning module. Let’s take a quick look at the capabilities of this tool. Read more »


I was asked to cover two topics at our next Web Professionals meeting on September 8, 2015. The first dealt with a continued discussion of security. The second dealt with the issue of internationalization. Since I don’t know if there will be sufficient time to cover both topics, I thought I would put together a weblog post on the topic of internationalization. First, there is some terminology to be aware of on this topic. You may see internationalization shortened to i18n (there are 20 letters in the word, after all). There is also the concept of localization (also known as l10n). You may also encounter the term globalization (g11n). The simple fact is that not everyone in the world speaks (and reads) English. And even if they do, there is U.S. English, U.K. English, Australian English and so forth. For example, is the word color or colour? Let’s look a bit deeper into what all this really means. Read more »


I am sure many readers already know about this tool, but I thought it would be appropriate to cover as I am teaching the CMWEB 220 class on CSS this semester. As we should know, we live in an imperfect world. This is particularly ture when it comes to browsers and emerging CSS capabilities. Often, we want to use the latest CSS-3, but discover we need to employ vendor prefixes so current (and some older) browsers properly recognize the CSS and display our HTML with the style we intended. Of course, this is a royal pain to add all these prefixes. Which lead to the autoprefixer tool. Read more »

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