Monthly Archives: December 2012

Make an E-Christmas Card

E-Christmas Card Reasoning

E-cards seem like a cop-out to traditionalists, fine for a later generation. This can be true if you send the same card to everyone on your mailing list.

However, by sending a personal message with each card, you find a little time in your busy life to keep in touch with people you like and respect.  It’s the same as sending a physical card by post, except that:

  • it’s kinder to the environment, using less paper and fuel;
  • it saves you money, in cards and postage;
  • it saves time and fuel, as you don’t need to go buy and post them.

Now you can donate the money you’ve saved to your favourite charity!

BlueTree E-card

Our e-Christmas card is personal, one for each recipient. We send individual emails, with a link to a single page containing a general message for all recipients. We personalise it using a “to=” parameter. If you click this link, you’ll see an example.

We can change some of the text on the web page using our Content Management System, or CMS, but it changes for everyone. The individual message is in the email and the parameter.

Make Your Own

The “to=” parameter is too complex for the CMS. However, you can easily make an on-line e-card of your own, and keep the personal message for the email.

We’ll post more on how to do this later.

Another Email with Links

This Spam Email is from Fedex – NOT!

Here is another example. Read about the first here.

There’s usually a flurry of mails like this around Christmas. People can be taken in more easily if they’re expecting a delivery, as many do at this time of year.

Example of spam from Fedex

How to Spot It As Spam

There are two give-aways in this mail, on top of the time of year, which should make us all more vigilant:

  1. The word, “postrider”, which looks like a word made up by someone who couldn’t translate it from another language;
  2. The format of the “Get Postal Receipt” button, which looks very unprofessional.

What to Do Next

Our advice is always the same,

  • Don’t click any links, nor open any attachments;
  • Delete it or mark it as spam;
  • If you feel public-spirited, and it claims to be from an organisation, search for what they want you to do about spam.

Fedex has a whole micro-site about spam, which makes useful reading. It contains examples of common spam emails.

Finally, here’s a page with how to report spam to lots of major organisations. Thank you Marjolein Katsma.

Beware of Emails Containing Links

An Email from Facebook – Not!

Yesterday I received this spam email, “Here’s some activity you may have missed on Facebook.”

Example of a suspicious email which should be reported to Facebook

 

It looks quite Kosher, but I always check mails that want me to click on a link to a website. Just as well! It wasn’t going to send me to Facebook al all, but to somewhere else entirely. Actually www.hausfrisia.de is the web site of a holiday villa, but not the page in question. A hacker has hijacked their site, or their DNS.

This happened to a small business in Portishead earlier this year. Read about it here.

Don’t Click a Link

CHECK BEFORE YOU CLICK – even if you recognise the sender. It may be too late afterwards. Remember, the better-known the sender, the more likely they are to be imitated.

  1. Check the From address, in this case it’s, Facebook [agroinfo@pub….rect] agroinfo? Isn’t that enough on its own?
  2. In Outlook, hover on a link to see the targetHover on the link, DON’T CLICK, and check the target web page address. In Outlook, example right, it appears in a small window, but Thunderbird displays it in the status bar at the bottom.
  3. Is the link plausible? In this case, NO – it’s nothing like Facebook!
  4. Still not sure? Check all the links. If they all go to the same web page then get suspicious.

When in doubt, leave it out.

What to do next

If you’re happy, click that link.

If you’re not, mark it as Junk or delete it NOW. If it’s from someone famous, as this one is, search for what to do. In this case, I searched for facebook notify suspicious email. I found this page on the Facebook site, which asked me to forward the mail to phish@spamreport.facebook.com.

So that’s what I did.

Another Example

Another example arrived today, apparently from Fedex. Read our post here.

Portishead Christmas Picture Quiz

Santa's hat, picture, question mark: Portishead Christmas Picture QuizAbout the Quiz

Have some local fun, out and about on the Internet!
Maybe even win a prize!

Sixteen photographs, all taken in Portishead, sit on a web page. All you have to do, is wander round the town with a print-out, smart-phone or tablet, and answer a question about each picture.

The main thing is to explore parts of the town that you maybe haven’t seen before. The quiz runs for the whole of December, so there’s plenty of time.

Couch potatoes may be able to get some of the answers on the Internet, but not all of them … we hope!

Background

The idea came to us when my wife and I were looking out to sea from Battery Point. We overheard someone say, “D’you know, I’ve lived in Portishead for over two years and I never knew this place existed!”

Perhaps there are long-time residents like us who have never walked around the Marina, too.

So, we thought it might be nice to encourage new residents to look around the old parts of town, and old Possett people to pluck up the courage and enter the new.

Hope you like it. www.bluetree.co.uk/quiz.