How to Protect Your Writing Business From Equipment Malfunction

by Heather Redding


Source


Every business has valuable assets that need to be protected. 

If you’re a retail company, there will be inventory in your store cupboards or warehouses that you need to protect from thieves and damage. Businesses in the food industry need to think about how they can prevent waste and stop items of food from becoming contaminated. 

In the writing world, defending your venture is all about ensuring that your intellectual property remains safe. The digital world means that you can instantly save your work online, without having to worry about keeping physical copies and paper in your office. 

However, just hitting “save” on your WordPress blog doesn’t mean that it’s adequately defended. 

Here’s how you can make sure that your written word has the best protection. 

Step 1: Use the Right CMS

The first step in protecting your blog from equipment malfunction is making sure that you’re using the right platforms. 

A content management system is something that you use to deliver your blog content to the world. The most common option is WordPress, as it’s often the easiest to use, and comes with the widest range of extensible features that you can use to make your blog unique. 

However, if you’re worried about equipment malfunction, then you might want to spend some time trying different blogging environments, like Joomla or Magento, to see which one feels most comfortable to you. The more you know how to use your CMS, the less likely you are to encounter issues. 

Step 2: Explore Helpful Tools and Plugins 

Tools and plugins can help with protecting and sharing your work.  A strong webpage is one of the first lines of defense that you have against people that could potentially hack your website or cause it to break down. 

Start by finding a reliable host for your blog–one that has encryption, firewalls, and SSL certificates in place. 

Then consider plugins like:

  • Acunetix WP security scan: A plugin that scans your blog for any security holes and recommends potential fixes. 
  • WordFence: A popular plugin that examines the coding of your website and optimizes your security. WordFence also comes with the option to block entire networks and set up your own firewall for extra protection. 
  • Sucuri Security: This is a plugin that incorporates various blacklist engines into your blog to defend it. The system also has a variety of monitoring features available, so you know everything there is to know about the security on your site. 

Do not install and use them all at once. Rather try one and replace it if you are not completely satisfied. 

Step 3: Keep Your Blog Updated

One of the most common causes of a blog malfunction is that your CMS is out of date. Whether you’re using your blog as a journal, or a way of connecting with your target audience, it’s important to ensure that you’re using the most recent version of your software. 

Not only will patches and updates make your software easier to use, giving you access to new functionality, but they’ll help to protect you from hackers and security holes. 

Criminals are more likely to find problems in old versions of blogging platforms. What’s more, older versions are more likely to break on their own, leaving you unable to access the content you need. 

Remember that you should be updating your plugins and other tools within your CMS too. Those extensions can also act as entry points for hackers if you’re not careful. 

Fortunately, many of the plugins available with solutions like WordPress can update automatically. 

Step 4: Enhance Your Computer

It’s not just your software and online programs that need to work perfectly if you want to run a fantastic and well-protected blog. You also need to protect your computer against malfunction. 

Something as small as a corrupted file on your back-end could make it impossible for you to turn your PC on and access the word documents you’ve been keeping for your latest post. 

Mac users might have it easier as Apple computers work differently and are known to have a better user experience. However, Windows computers are more used. 

If you are a Windows computer owner, learning how to update and enhance your Windows PC will help to keep it glitch-free and reduce the risk of any data loss issues. 

Even if you spend most of your time working on the cloud, you’ll still need your computer OS to be in excellent condition to ensure that you can access the files and systems that you need as quickly as possible. 

Step 5: Keep Backups of Your Work

Finally, if your equipment ever does malfunction, then that doesn’t mean you should have to start your writing over from scratch. To ensure that you always have access to the files and documents that you create on your blog, it’s important to have a backup system in place. 

Some people print versions of their blogs so that they can come back to them later. Others keep files on a hard drive that they can keep away from their computer.

The easiest option is usually to find a system that allows you to save your blog content to the cloud. WordPress and other blogging platforms offer plugins that allow you to set automated blog backup processes. 

For instance, UpdraftPlus is one of the most popular free backup plugins available on the market today. This plugin supports both automated and scheduled backups, and on-demand backups where you can choose which files you want to save. 

Protect Your Work 

You put a lot of time, effort, and creativity into writing the perfect blogs to share with your fans. The last thing you want is for a bug on the back-end of your CMS, or a PC problem to destroy your files forever. 

Knowing how to protect yourself and your intellectual property against common issues and glitches will save you a lot of time and frustration in the long-term. 

Using the tips above, make sure that you have the right strategies in place to defend your content. 

While you’re at it, remember to keep an eye on any signs of deterioration in your software or systems. Sometimes, when serious problems begin to crop up, the best thing you can do is seek help from a professional. 

Heather Redding is a part-time assistant manager, solopreneur and writer based in Aurora, Illinois. She is also an avid reader and a tech enthusiast. When Heather is not working or writing, she enjoys her Kindle library and a hot coffee. Reach out to her on Twitter

Which Rental Is Right for You?

Vacationing in a Hotel, Rented Timeshare, or Air BnB

Even authors take some time off. Photographers live for scenic vacations.

You are shopping for your next vacation and there are so many options. Hotels, timeshare resorts, Bed and Breakfast, Air BnB, VRBO and so much more. Which type of rental is right for you?

Professionals run the hotel industry but individuals usually sell their timeshares and private homes on Air BnB and similar venues. In addition to their own advertising and online booking, large hotel chains rely on companies like Expedia and Trip Advisor to bring in business. That may be your go-to starting place. Individuals struggle to compete since usually do not have an advertising budget or a website.

If you haven’t looked recently, Expedia includes everything from budget hotels to private residences and even some Timeshare Resorts. Individuals may contract with them to help market their homes and timeshares.

Typically Timeshare companies like Redweek or Sell Your Timeshare Now market to individuals who want to list their available weeks or sell their timeshares. People wanting to rent timeshares may not think to visit those sites as well.

Comparing Hotels, Timeshares, and Air BnB

Price

Hotel rooms can easily range from $60 to $400 per night. For those prices, you usually don’t get a full kitchen, extra bedrooms, a living room, dining room, and more than one bath.

Timeshares range from studio apartments to three-bedroom apartments or two-bedroom with a lockout room, but the prices are more like a single room hotel, so $70-$400 per night. They are a great bargain! If you’ve never heard of a lockout room, it is like an additional full hotel room with a partial kitchen, but there is a connecting door to the main unit. This is great when you have guests because the full condo and the lockout each have their own entrance.

Private homes/rooms/condos usually sold on Air BnB or VRMO also range from $70 to $400 a night. They can be any size from a bedroom in an occupied home with a shared bath to an entire home, condo, or apartment. Generally, these whole house options are someone’s second home.

Ambiance

The ambiance of timeshare resorts and upscale hotels are similar. There are beautiful pool and spa areas, a lovely restaurant on-site, and fitness rooms. The rooms are all similar – decorated nicely. They are usually uniform in their provisions (bathroom supplies, kitchen equipment, furnishings) Timeshares go the extra step over hotels with activity rooms and coordinated activities, a concierge who will book trips, barbeques, full kitchens, cleaning during the week and at the end of the week.

The feeling in an Air BnB is much more personal. You are using items that belong to someone, and they are unique. Sometimes they are beautiful, and other times not so much. You don’t always know what you are getting from the pictures. The decor and furnishings may not be up to date, and may not even be super clean. Sometimes you are staying in someone’s home where they also live. That can be interesting or intrusive, depending on the owner. Sometimes there is no one to let you in, and you can’t find the key. It’s always different. It’s never bland.

Convenience

Hotels and Timeshares are convenient. Someone will greet you and check you in. If you need anything 24/7, there is a porter to bring it to you. If you forgot something, there is often a little convenience store in the resort or hotel. Someone cleans your room while you are there if you want them to do so. You can always request privacy, but it is easy to get your room picked up daily or at least mid-week if you want that service. There is never food in the refrigerator or cabinets, but there is almost always coffee, salt, and pepper, cream, and sugar.

Timeshares usually have kitchens and all the cooking utensils at your disposal, including electric appliances for the asking. There is always a hairdryer, iron, ironing board, television, and a land-line phone.

In an Air BnB, you never know, but you can’t count on any of the above items. It depends on the owner. There is rarely anyone to greet you or help you with convenience items. That being said, you might find a timeshare listed on Air BnB. It is harder for the timeshare owner to do this because they might not have adequate pictures to advertise the unit.

Availability

Hotels have the most flexible schedules. Unless there is a convention in town, you can almost always find a hotel room available in any city you want to visit. You can call them up directly to book or reserve a room through a third party agent like Expedia.

Timeshares may not be as easy to find because owners have to book them up to a year in advance, and they may not list available units on Expedia or one of the other frequented booking agents. You can find timeshares on Redweek and other Timeshare sites, but only people interested in renting a Timeshare go to those sites. They are not often available on Air BnB, although that is changing.

People wanting to rent private homes may find them on Expedia, but they are usually costly. Those who are looking for a uniquely individual experience often go to Air BnB first, the same as resort seekers go to Redweek or other Timeshare sites. There are fewer resorts or private residences available in big city downtown places simply because downtowns are by nature, usually businesses and hotels.

There are so many options for travelers all over the world. This is the time to travel.

Haven’t Thought of Timeshares Before?

Check out our Always Write Travel Blogging Units for 2020.

Always Write Travel says, “Have fun!”

Always Write Adopts a Section of the Woodlake Rose Garden

What are you doing with your business, church group, or your non-profit group? Have you considered gardening in a public garden?

The City of Woodlake has way more work than they can handle caring for the fourteen acres that is Woodlake Botanical Gardens. The founders, Manuel and Olga Jimenez and their non-profit, Woodlake Pride Coalition, manage all but the three acres designated as Woodlake Rose Garden. That Garden is divided into small sections and several groups have reached out to support it.

This little neglected area is about a third of the way along the Garden path. I probably should have counted the number of roses before I volunteered to adopt it, but I’m impetuous. With some community help, I think it’s doable.

There are probably about fifty roses on the property, several pomegranate trees and about 20 Rose of Sharon bushes and several clumps of overgrown Pampas grass. The tree front and center is a mystery to me.

Woodlake Rose Garden Floribundas
“Adopt us,” cried the roses as Chuck and I walked over to check out the Master Gardener’s well-groomed rose bushes.

What prompted me to adopt the garden is that it’s time to prune roses in CA. This is as cold as it gets, and you can still see roses in bloom on the bushes.

The Master Gardeners lead the way with their work in the Floribundas. Last year they held a training workshop at the Garden, and we have another one scheduled on January 25 from 11:00 – 2:00. It’s a great opportunity to learn how to make your roses gorgeous.

Pruned roses examples
Model section ready for the January 25th pruning workshop at the Woodlake Rose Garden.

The pruned roses looked so good I blurted out that I thought I could take care of one section. After I announced my decision on the internet, I told Mr. Write, AKA Vince, about my project.

“There’s an adorable cove that I did not even know existed in my new section. I bet you could create something really beautiful there.”

An almost secret garden in the middle of the Woodlake Rose Garden unadopted section.

Vince loved it and quickly came up with several ideas of what he might do with it. Meanwhile, I got started turning my new section into a Master Gardener amateur masterpiece.

My bucket is so handy to carry all my tools: loppers and clippers are essential but the knee pad allows me to work for two hours instead of three minutes. You can see my long-armed leather-like gloves peeking out of the bucket. Don’t even try to prune these thorny critters without them.

I advertised on Facebook for community members to help the day before, but that was pretty short notice. However, the Garden has its own regulars.

The first person I saw was Jose. He offered to help so I gave him the loppers. He can’t see well, but that didn’t stop him. He chopped the roses down to a manageable level. Then I dug them out a little farther. Leaves, old branch trimming, and cockroaches filled the center of the plant, so I cleaned them out with a trowel as I clipped the smaller branches.

One garden regular said, “Put your hair up in a ponytail, then it won’t get in your face.” Duh! Good advice – dress for success.

My friend Sally raked the unwieldy branches into piles so they wouldn’t trip walkers after she finished working in other parts of the garden.

Instead of the three or four rose bushes I might have been able to prune on my own, we pruned fourteen roses, and I even found an old label telling us what they are.

Coral Meidiland Floribunda rose
Coral Meidiland introduced in France in 1993 by hybridizer, Alaine Meidiland, it is a Floribunda shrub with lots of thorns. I can vouch for the thorns. It is shade tolerant and disease resistant. Good choice, Manuel!

Last year the Master Gardeners hosted a pruning class in the Garden. That information came in handy. It takes me a while to make the decisions as to which branches to prune, but the basic idea is to think of the rose as a bowl and clear out anything that points inward. They also say to prune off little branches and anything that is crossing.

Woodlake Rose Garden regular, Victor
My neighbor showed me how to add his name to his picture on my phone.

Meanwhile, a friend of Jose’s named Victor came up and said he couldn’t help but would love to help the next time I come. He pruned a Rose of Sharon tree and several rose bushes before he left an hour or so later. Working in the Garden is addictive!

Pruned roses
You can barely see the Rose of Sharon trees in the upper left of the picture.

On Sunday afternoon I returned and three people dropped by to say hi as I worked.

If you have a business, church, or a non-profit, this is a great way to get out of your own circle of acquaintances and make some new friends. Today I chatted with Jose, prayed with a woman on a motorized scooter, and chatted with a police officer who offered to help during my next workday, which is February 22.

pruned roses
The sign says, “Unadopted.” That’s changing to Always Write.”

If you live in Woodlake or nearby you might be interested in caring for this garden which has been dubbed a Tulare County Treasure. Let me know if you are interested in adopting a section of the Woodlake Rose Garden and I’ll get you connected.

Or you can just drop by and help me in my Always Write newly adopted section.

Always Write logo

End of the Cancer Journey

It’s way too weird to say that it’s been a joy to have cancer, but it has been. Mentally I know that God doesn’t send cancer or any sickness as a punishment. However, cancer changes you. For me, it has brought me into a closer relationship with God and with my husband and friends.

Remember when you were a kid and you did something wrong? You tried to hide it, but your parents found out and punished you. Afterward, you realized that they still loved you and you felt better.

That’s sort of how it’s been with me. I’ve been a Christian for a very long time, but it didn’t stop me from either making some terrible decisions or sinning. I was in a rut.

When you get cancer, everything else falls to the sidelines while you rush around going to doctors and hospitals trying to conquer this monster called cancer. Even those pesky bad habits that you know about and a few more that you never realized you had can’t hold a candle to the time and effort it takes to get cancer out of your system.

Like it or not. You’ve got other things on your mind. Praise God. He is merciful. Cancer has been a blessing.

But I’m exceedingly glad to be at the end of the journey – I hope. I am super tired of going in an getting my tissue expander filled with saline solution only to have it leak out before my next appointment. That doesn’t happen to everyone, so don’t panic if you have cancer and decide to do reconstructive surgery.

I complained of pain about two months ago, and to relieve the pressure, the surgeon put a needle into what he thought was the second fill port, only it wasn’t. There may be a moral of the story but I’m not sure what it is. Sometimes complaining is a good thing.

My plastic surgeon has had mercy on me, throughout the process.

  • First of all my surgery date should have been December 26, but we had friends coming from Australia on the 27th and I didn’t want to miss them. We had a big trip planned through California and then to Las Vegas for New Year’s Eve. So he kindly postponed the surgery to January 30th instead.
  • He offered to remove the damaged tissue expander and replace it. That would have meant an extra surgery and an additional two weeks minimum recovery. I went in for the preparatory step of removing and replacing all the fluid – a forty-five-minute appointment instead of the typical three minute one. I decided that I didn’t want to expand my breast to a normal size B or possibly a huge C cup, after all. (Pop, there went that dream) He gave me a reprieve and said I didn’t need to come in until my surgery unless I wanted a fill. Yay! Freedom!
  • By week two I had lost so much fluid that I developed two very long and deep wrinkles. Wrinkles in your breast are not like wrinkles on your face. They are not only unattractive (not that anyone is looking) but very uncomfortable. They are more like gullies or drainage ditches. Not only that, after about a month of deflation, your tissue unexpands. So you are back to flat.
  • The nurse took pity on me and slipped me into his busy schedule for an emergency fill. He filled me with 220 ml instead of the normal 60. When I sat up, I literally couldn’t breathe normally. Very weird to be stretched that tight!
  • Two weeks later, at the end of our vacation, I was on empty again and in tears, because surgery was still nearly a month away and I’d leaked out 220 instead of 60 ml of fluid. I could feel it drizzle under my arm and imagined the salty water finding all the unhealed scars when I felt burning – the proverbial pouring salt on a wound. I imagined that the $64,000 pieces of cadaver tissue that makes the implant reunite with my body so much better were dissolving by saline solution. The nurse told me was that saline solution is what hospitals give patients that are dehydrated. Nothing to worry about. I looked at my fingers – no wrinkles. I was hydrated. I felt better and he added an additional 240 ml of fluid.
  • Better than that, he told me he would move up my surgery even if he had to work late and perform the surgery at the hospital instead of next door to his office at the surgery center.
  • Fortunately for him and for me, someone canceled their surgery and he had an opening for January 13th, six days later. YAY!

So in two days, I will be on my way to Fresno for my final surgery. The cancer is gone. To the outsider, I look as normal as I ever did, and I can start living my life without weekly trips to Fresno.

Enjoying a hike on our vacation two weeks before my third surgery.

I’m so very grateful.

  • To God for healing me.
  • For my husband who stood by me, put up with my moods, drove me to appointments, and took on the extra duties that I couldn’t do after each of the three surgeries I’ve gone through.
  • To Dr. Alsalihi for referring me to the “Dream Team,” as they are called.
  • To the professionals who diagnosed and did the tests that found the tumor when it was between stage one and stage two.
  • To the Dream Team – Dr. Hadcock, cancer surgeon, Dr. Perkins, oncologist, and Dr. Askren, the ever-patient plastic surgeon who performed the only elective surgery in the process.
  • For my friends who had brought us food, prayed, visited, called and wrote to me. They showed me in so many ways how much they loved and cared about me.

I hope you never get cancer. But if you do, know that I’m praying for you. You can get through it and be better than you were when you got it.

Lots of love to you all.