Custom Web Design : Slabmedia : Boston, MA

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Slabmedia voted one of the top Boston web designers by Expertise.com

Jim Infantino
Slabmedia voted one of the top Boston web designers by Expertisecom
We're excited to announce that Slabmedia has been chosen from among 388 reviewed web design firms as one of the top web design companies in Boston by Expertise.com! We scored highly on thier evaluation criteria, which included reviews of our reputation, credibility, experience, availability, professionalism, and engagement. We are proud and happy to have been selected by Expertise.com, and we look forward to continuing to bring our experience to bear on helping your business or other web-based venture to succeed!

Heartbleed leaves our Servers alone BUT this is what you need to know.

Jim Infantino
Heartbleed leaves our Servers alone BUT this is what you need to know

from xkcd - the genius cartoonist we love.

This past weekend, the Heartbleed exploit hit the news. It was and still is, a big bad story. The exploit is difficult to understand, but it is widespread and even if our servers were not affected, it's important you know what happened and what you can do to secure and fix your email connections if you are having any problems.

Heartbleed is an exploit that promtps servers to send back sensitive information via inquiries made on secure certificate connections. Most servers run Open SSL which was written a long time ago in the programming language C. The hacker can specify a large number of characters to come back via a query. The computer being queried sends back information in it's short term memory - called a "buffer." In the text returned the hacker might find strings of text like passwords or credit card numbers that were supposed to be encrypted but are now sent back in the open.

This is why it is important that you change your passwords for all accounts as soon as you can.

The Heartbleed exploit has been active for at least a couple of years now. If you use the same password to check your email as you do to login to google or facebook or twitter or your bank or any other site, it is important that you change your email password and the password to the admin level of your site, as that password may have been compromised. This is important because if your password is out there, a spammer could log in to your mail account and send out spam. No one wants that.

You can change the password for your email at mail.pair.com - under settings > password. You can change your password for your admin account under Slab Menu > Change My Password.

Additionally, you may want to use an SSL server bigslab.mail.pairserver.com for your incoming mail server. Make sure you check the Use SSL box in your mail program account settings. If you get a warning during initial connection, just click "connect." The certificate is valid, but you may see this message regardless. This will encrypt your incoming mail using the newly set secure certificates. If you are already using outgoing.slabmedia.com for your outgoing mail, there may be an issue while the certificate is reset. Restarting your computer should take care of this. Settings are all on the LEARN section of our site.

I hope this helps. Again, our servers were not affected by this exploit, but it is important that you begin to think up new passwords. Here is a good page on that.

Thanks for being part of the Slab family,

- Jim

Slab's newest creation: theBig2do is now live and available for beta testers.

Jim Infantino
Slab039s newest creation theBig2do is now live and available for beta testers

thebig2do screenie

What's the Big 2 Do?

We built this web-app at Slab to help create a list of our to do items that would place the most important at the top based on a few key determining factors:

  • payoff: what the task will pay in actual money.
  • deadline: when the task is due.
  • enormity: how much work is needed to get the job done.
  • importance: how much this task will effect your reputation.
  • status: whether the job is ongoing, awaiting feedback, stalled, or finished.

This list will order itself. You may not agree with the item at the top, but it will give you a good idea of what is important based on the priorities you set.

Try it out and let us know how you might like it to be improved.

Contact us for a login.

Slab partners with Knittlr.com! The new slow wave in Social Networking

Slabmedia is proud to annouce a partnership with the new Slow Social Network Knittlr.com!

You may have heard of the slow food movement. Now it's happening in social networking!

Sending messages with knittlr is as easy as 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,....9472!

Spend a week or three knitting your own personal message (called a kneet) to a friend. 2 colors of yarn are preferred so you can read the letters. Make sure to knit your knittlr name and the name of the knittlr recipient at the top of the finished square, scarf, hat or sweater. Kneets are grouped together by knottags. Adding a knottag to your kneet is as easy as knitting a word or phrase (no spaces please) and tying it to the kneet with a knot.

Get up from your rocking chair, walk and hand the knitted message to another knittlr, who will hand it to another, and so on until it finally gets delivered to your intended target. (usually takes a month or more)

Your friend can then knit you a message back, or add on to your kneet, and deliver it back to you the same way.

Once you are done, send the message you receive, through the knittlrverse to Knittlr and they will knit them all together to knit the social fabric of the knittlrsphere.

Knittlr can tell a lot about who you are by the kind of stitches and yarn you use. Knittlr collects that informtion to send you knitted advertising, by adding a knitted message onto your kneet.

So grab some yarn and some knitting needles and start kneeting! You will be growning your knittlr network in no time! Okay, well, maybe several months or maybe years.

Happy April 1 from Slabmedia.

Slabmedia update on Web Browser Java Plug-in Virus

Jim Infantino
This past weekend, you may have heard a news item about a web browser exploit that uses the Java plugin of your browser to download an application to log your keystrokes or steal your contacts, or wipe your hard drive or really anything it wants to.

First off, before you rush to turn off all Java items on your computer, Javascript is not Java, and you only want to disable Java in your browsers.

This virus was triggered by visiting one of a series of web pages, perhaps by clicking a link in an ad or an email. This is a style of attack that is becoming very common lately. You should always be aware of where an email is linking to before clicking any link in an email, even if it looks like it comes from a friend. One way to check on the link before you send it is simply to mouse over that link - in most email readers, the url will show up in a flag, shooting out to the left of the link, telling you where it wants to send you. If the email looked like it was from PayPal, but the link goes to http://paypal.blahblahblah.ru (just an example, don't go there) then you know it does not go to PayPal. It goes to blahblahblah.ru. The part of a url right before the .com or the .co.uk or the .net or the .ru is the domain. The name in the dot before that is called the subdomain - which in general is a way to split off the same domain into another section. It does not guarantee that you are going to a site controlled by the name in that subdomain. In other words:


That end part is the suffix - ie: the dot com part. The domain is where you are going, the subdomain is the folder in the server at the domain, most likely.

Regarding Java, even though fixes are being issued for this exploit, it makes sense to turn it off in your browser.

In Internet Explorer 9 or 10, click on the gear icon in the upper-right corner and choose Manage Add-Ons. Scroll down to the bottom, under Oracle America, Inc., select each of the entries in turn; they'll probably say "Java(tm) Plug-In SSV Helper" or some such. In the lower-right corner click the button marked Disable. Restart IE. At the bottom of the screen, you'll see a notice that says, "The 'Java(tm) Plug-In SSV Helper' add-on from 'Oracle America, Inc.' is ready to use." Click Don't Enable. If you get a second notice about a Java add-on, click Don't Enable on it, too. That should permanently disable Java Runtime in IE.

In any recent version of Firefox, click the Firefox tab in the upper-left corner and choose Add-Ons. You should see an add-on for Java(TM) Platform SE 7 U11. Click once on the entry, and click Disable. Restart Firefox.

In Chrome, type chrome://plugins in the address bar and push Enter. You should see an entry that says something like "Java (2 files) - Version:" Click on that entry and click the link that says Disable. Restart Chrome.

In Safari, Go to Preferences > Security > and unclick Enable Java

from infoworld.com

It makes sense to disable Java in all your browsers unless you regularly use a site the needs it. Then, perhaps it's best to enable in in one of your browsers and make sure it's the latest version. One thing to remember however, is to keep JAVASCRIPT on! JAVASCRIPT is not Java if you turn Javascript off, you will find that most of the sites you enjoy, including your site at Slabmedia, don't work as well as you would like.

That's all for now. One more cautionary tale of the internet to keep you up at night.

- Jim
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