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Saturday, February 23, 2013

Untag Yourself from Facebook Photos, Free Jewelry Making eBooks, Miniature Ocean Charms in Sterling Silver Bracelet

Today I posted a bracelet that is a case of “looks so much better in person”. But c’est la vie.

First I domed some copper blanks, then I kiln-enameled them. Then I added ocean do-dads and filled the domes with resin.

Did you know you can download a ton of free ebooks from Interweave on all kinds of subjects like beading, jewelry making techniques, art journals, mixed media, wire jewelry, bead embroidery, etc. And tons and tons of projects.

In no way, shape, or form am I a Facebook expert. But I have figured out how to do-away with some of the features I find annoying, so I thought I’d share them with you as I think of them.

Here’s an example that came up today. I look in my list of notifications and see that someone has tagged me in a photo. 99% of the time these are bogus spammy type things.

So the first pic shows my notification: “blah-blah-blah added a photo of you”. And sure enough, that doesn’t really look like a photo of me.

Click on the photo. And click on the word “Options” in the bottom right of the photo.

This brings up a pop-up, from which you will select “Report/Remove Tag”.

Then you get a new pop-up. Click on “I want to untag myself”.

Finally you will get a confirmation that you are no longer tagged in that photo.

Two annoying things about being tagged in photos include: Getting a notification every time someone comments on that photo. Having that be one of the photos in your timeline photo albums under “Photos of you”.

There may be more but that’s enough for me.

So how did I get tagged in this completely random, spammy FB photo?

I used to think these kinds of things meant my friend’s FB account was hacked, but upon further investigation I think this is how it happens: someone clicks on one of these too-good-to-be-true posts and from there, the wheels are set into motion. The app (or whatever it is) takes all your facebook friends and tags them on your behalf. Now the stupid ad is on the timeline of all your friends. Lots of free advertising for annoying company/product.

I can untag myself as these come up. It’s not TOO often.

But if you’d like to have it never happen, you can set your FB up so that you have to approve all tags of yourself before they post to your timeline.

Just click on your name so you see your own timeline then click on the little gear icon in the very far upper right of your screen (NOT the little gear icon next to the words Activity Log). Click on Privacy Settings. Then find Timeline and Tagging from the menu on the left. There you will see all kinds of choices you can make.

BTW, not all of these are spammy advertising. Sometimes FB friends purposely tag their friends on photos they think might be enjoyed. But that can end up being annoying too. You can’t “unfollows” a photo you’re tagged in (the way you unfollow a thread you’ve posted in); you have to remove the tag to stop getting notifications for every post on that photo.

I hope I’ve helped some of you have a more pleasant Facebook experience.

And yes, still in the works is getting rid of game invitations. But this other thing came up first so I wanted to show you while I had the chance.

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Beads of The Bead Soup Blog Party... and Blue Enamel Earrings

Let me start off with the latest update of my involvement in the exciting bead exchange for Lori Anderson’s Bead Soup Blog Party.

As you recall, Molly Alexander and I are partners for the swap.

Look at the lovely packing Molly’s soup mix to me came in:

And here are the bead sets (2!) from Molly:

I can't wait to come up with some cool jewelry.  No pressure.  Hee hee.  These are some seriously cool beads, though, and I really hope some ideas come to mind.

Here’s what I sent Molly:

I’d like to thank all my friends for their overwhelmingly positive support of my latest etched charm projects. I have the best friends, ever!

I plan to get back to more of that after I finish a few “on my plate now” projects. Hopefully by mid-March I’ll have more time to play.

In the meantime, here’s a pair of earrings I created with kiln-enameled charms and formed and soldered silver.

Note: You can click on any jewelry photo to see if the piece is still available (or to get more info/photos). To see everything that is currently available, click here.

Two fun things happened to me recently. One is that Lori Phillips from Metal Clay Today E-Magazine featured my blog in her “Best of the Blogs” article (page 58-59).

The other is that I’ve been accepted into the juried Etsy Team called Etsy Metal. Yay! These are an AMAZING group of metal artists and I’m just so happy and honored to be a part of the group. To see their work on Etsy, just search on ”etsymetal”.

I’m afraid today’s helpful tip has to wait until at least tomorrow. I plan to show you how to stop the insufferable game and app invitations on Facebook.

But now, it’s bedtime. G’night!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Setting Up Your Preferences for Blogger Comments

Today's subject is how to deal with blogger comments. Blogger is also known as Blogspot.

When you set up your blog (or any time after), you have a few options about how to handle comments.

At first you may think (as I did), “I want anyone to feel free to post comments as they please.” But you’ll soon find out that spam bots have free reign on the internet and you may get 90% spam comments and 10% real people comments and do you want to have to weed through all the carp to find the good stuf?

Let’s cover the options one at a time.

First (and this is how I have it), you can set up the system so comments do not get posted directly to your blog. They go into a place first where you can “moderate” them. This means you can look them over and decide which ones to publish, which ones to delete, and which ones are spam.

BTW, if you are wondering why you’d ever need to differentiate between “delete” and “spam”, here’s one example: occasionally people post their comment but they’re not sure it went through, so they do it again. Well, you may not need a duplicate of their comment to be posted to your blog, but you don’t want to mark it as spam and have them never able to post to your blog again. That’s where “delete” comes in handy.

I’m going to show you some screen shots as we talk just in case anyone reading is REALLY unfamiliar with blogger (and I was there before so I can relate).

So on your blog page, in the upper right corner are some options. Assuming you’re already signed in, you want to click on “design”.

On the next screen, on the far left, click on “settings”.

That brings up sub-headings under settings, so now click on “posts and comments”.

Your navigation options are still in the left margin, and in the main section of your screen you will see two sections. The top section is for posts and the bottom section (under the faint gray line) is for comments.

Now we’re going to get into personal preferences. You do what you feel is right for you and know that you can come in here and change it as often as you like until you get what works for you.

First up, “Who can comment?”

I have “anyone” selected because I don’t want people to have to register with any social networking thing they don’t already belong to merely in order to leave me a comment. But you set yours however you like; I’m just explaining MY reasoning.

I’ve been to blogs before where I take the time to type out a several-paragraph comment, hit submit, and then am taken to another page that says “sign in now if you want your comment posted”. And guess what, maybe I don’t belong to any of those choices (google account, wordpress, AIM, etc). So the time I took to comment on that person’s blog is wasted because I don’t get to post my comment now.

Then we go to “Comment moderation”:

I have mine selected to “always” because I want to decide on each and every comment.

If you select “sometimes”, it brings up an option that basically says if the comment is on a post that is x-number of days old, I’d like to moderate it, but all the newer stuff just go ahead and publish without my consent. You choose the “x” for how old your posts have to be in order for a comment to be set aside for moderation.

If you select “never”, all comments get posted to your blog instantly (except maybe the ones that blogger suspects as spam anyway (more on that later).

So if you’ve selected “always” or “sometimes”, you also have the option of being notified via email for new comments (the light gray box that says “Email moderation requests to”). This is handy if you don’t go to your blog very often. I don’t have them emailed to me because I just check for new comments when I go, which is every few days.

I have “word verification” set to no, but this is recent and I’m not sure if I will keep it off. I’ll decide later.

I used to have “word verification” on. That means to leave a comment, you have to do what is called a “captcha” word. That’s where you type into a box the letters that show on your screen. Looks something like this:

And I just learned that some people have a real loathing of this step. Numerous people voiced their opinion on a forum I frequent that if they see a captcha on someone’s blog, they don’t bother to leave a comment. Learn something new every day.

We’re all different and you’re making decisions that will affect who leaves comments on your blog (and/or how much carp you have to deal with to keep your comments clean and non-spammy).

Since I turned off the captcha feature last night, I’ve had 16 comments trying to post to my blog. They were all spam bots.

A spam bot post is pretty easy to spot. They say things that sound almost normal at first… then you realize, they’re not saying ANYTHING specific.

Here’s an example: “Hello. Yup this article is really nice and I have learned a lot of things from it about blogging. Also visit my web page…”

Or: “Hi. I just wanted to mention I enjoyed this blog post. It was funny. Keep on posting. My blog is…”

Or: “It’s nearly impossible to find knowledgeable people about this subject, but you seem like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks. Here is my blog…”

And each of those “here is my blog” goes to something like “buying a car” or “hot Russian women” or “fix your credit”.

Blogger will take a lot of those spam bot posts and move them into a spam folder (more on that below) so you don’t have to deal with them, but in case you want to look the over just to be sure they’re spam (like a spam filter in your email program). You have the option in the “spam” folder of marking any of the comments as “not spam” and then you can publish them to your blog.

After you’ve made your choices, click on “Save settings” in the upper right of your screen.

The next section is having a look at the actual comments.

On the same screen, on the far left, click on “comments”.

Now under “comments”, you will see three sub-headings: Published, Awaiting moderation, and Spam.

When you click on each one, you will get a list of the comments for each section. In the example below, you are seeing my “published” comments. If I wanted to see what has not yet been published, I would click on “Awaiting moderation”.

Since I have my moderation turned on for all comments, other than the ones that blogger already identifies as spam and puts in the spam folder, everything goes into the moderation “folder” for me to decide what to do with it.

From the “comments awaiting moderation subfolder, you can pick which comments you want to publish, delete, or mark as spam.

To see the words indicated in the red horizontal rectangle (publish/delete/spam), hover your mouse there (notice the words are not there for the other two comments below it).

You can read each comment and make your choice individually (click on the light blue “publish”, “delete”, or “spam”) directly beneath that comment.

Or you can put a check mark in the little squares before the comments and batch “publish”, “delete”, or “spam” them from the underlined sections at the top of the comments page.

I prefer to do each one separately.

Now let’s look at that third comment for today. “Hello. Just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The text in your post seem to be running off the screen in Chrome. I’m not sure if this is a format issue or something to do with internet browser compatibility but I figured I’d post to let you know. The design look great though! Hope you get the problem solved soon. Many thanks. Also visit my web page: car insurance…”

At first, he totally had me. I was all upset thinking people using Chrome weren’t seeing my blog properly. But that bit at the end. It’s got to be spam. I told you… they’re getting pretty slick.

Although I can also typo pretty easily when I’m not concentrating, another giveaway to spam is the lack of proper grammar, spelling, or punctuation.

So that’s it for today. These photo-tutorials take longer to make than I usually think they will (yeah, I know… I’m master of the overkill).

Up next… turning off Facebook game or app invitations. Whoohoo!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Lori Anderson's Bead Soup Blog Party, Part 1

I am taking part in Lori Anderson’s 7th Bead Soup Blog Party.

Briefly, jewelry maker’s exchange beads and make jewelry for themselves from what their partner sent. The soup consists of: a nice/fancy clasp, a focal bead, some spacer or accent beads, etc.

I just shipped my beads to my wonderful partner Molly Alexander. Here’s a teaser photo of what I sent:

When Molly receives them, I will show you the actual photo. And when I receive her beads, I will show you that soup mix as well.

If it isn’t obvious, I will also show you what each of us makes with the beads sent.

I think Molly will get the skimpiest soup mix out of everyone. I sent super diet soup mix. I’ve already warned her and she’s being SO gracious. I think I got the best bead soup partner ever.

Molly is helping me a lot with my first bead soup. Here, have a look at her blog and her Etsy store.

Gorgeous, inventive creations.

BTW, I’d like to thank everyone who has commented here and/or emailed me to say nice things about my recent blog posts. I’m glad to hear my info on the new shipping rates is helpful.

Went to Santa Rosa yesterday for a hockey game so today I hope to catch up on photographing and listing.

I have two more window pieces in the works; hopefully they’ll be ready later this week.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

New Etched Charms and an Etsy Tip

Did a few etched projects yesterday.   Click a pic to see more (if it leads nowhere, that means it’s sold).

And here’s an Etsy tip: Take advantage of the fact that you can now adjust your promo photo.

When you peruse Etsy, all photos are small, cropped, and square.  That may not be the exact way you wanted your item to be seen as a first impression upon the world.

Etsy really stepped up to the plate by giving the sellers the ability to tweak that first-impression image a bit.

After you edit  your item, then click “preview” at the bottom of the screen, you will notice that in the upper right corner of the next page you have the option to fine tune your thumbnail.

Just click on “adjust photo” and you can move the image around a bit (in my case, I wanted to raise my image a smidge so that the pendant was just a little higher in the photo.

You can also zoom in (using the slider bar to the left of the image).

Just click "crop" when done.

Based on the number of images I still see on Etsy where an important part of the item is completely cut out of the thumbnail photo, I’m guessing this is an option that still needs to be discovered by many.  I only noticed it yesterday.

But I do spend a lot of time thinking about thumbnail photos.  Like I said, this is your jewelry’s first impression for a customer.  You don’t want them glossing over it and moving on to the next page.  You want your image to catch their attention.

Now I’m off to finish writing my chapter about catching the viewer’s attention in that one second interval.