Lincolnshire Art Craft Hour
Join us each Monday on twitter from 12.00pm for the LincsConnect Lincolnshire Art Craft Hour.
Paint On Canvas…
Have you heard about the LincsConnect Lincolnshire Art Craft Hour (#LincsArtCraftHour) yet? It’s twitter based and includes artists and crafters from Lincolnshire, Newark, Retford and Hull. A great place for the experts to meet to show what they do. As a result, it’s a fantastic place to shop too!
What image does ‘art’ bring to mind? If you’ve ever been to The National Gallery you’ll have seen paintings from small to extremely large. However, if you’ve been to Tate Modern you’ll have seen something completely different. Art is about paint on canvas but it’s also much more than that. We can debate good and bad art but what it all boils down to is ‘do I like it’? You can introduce someone new to the LincsConnect Lincolnshire Art Craft hour today.
Who’s The Artist?
It isn’t me! We all have our own talents though (art isn’t mine) so we must be grateful for that. I know what I like as soon as I see it, as a result I set up this hour to showcase the many and varied art forms from our area. We all like different things of course and that’s what makes the hour so appealing. Who is the ‘artist’ then? Well, I believe that it’s the photographer, the jewellery maker, the crafter, the potter… Art isn’t just paint on canvas but without the paint on canvas the art world would’t be complete!
How Do You Find Your Art?
There are many places to find art and in Lincolnshire we are blessed with some fantastic galleries and shops. Social media provides a good platform for art shopping too of course so it’s time to make the most of it. I’ve found some stunning pieces of art on social media so I’ve been able to chat to the artists in real time while shopping. Not every conversation ends in a sale but that doesn’t matter. The conversations help to build a following, the followers have friends, the friends have friends and family… If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, someone somewhere is going to like what the artist is doing. That leads to sales and commissions.
Get Involved with the LincsConnect Lincolnshire Art Craft Hour
If you’re a Twitter user you’ll be familiar with ‘hashtag hours’ which involves every interested person on the planet (or so it seems) interacting about one subject. It usually feels like a frenzy of tweets and conversations. Choose a subject and there will probably be a dedicated hour to it! They are fantastic platforms for networking and getting messages seen but they can be difficult to follow. By the time you’ve seen a post, reacted to it and asked a question you’ll have missed 30 or 40 other posts.
Frenzy Free Lincolnshire Art Craft Hour
I want to remove that ‘frenzy’. A dedicated hour using the #LincsConnect hashtag on Twitter with Lincolnshire artists of all genres posting art, messages, links and special offers. The beauty of the hashtag is that anyone can search it at any time. The #LincsConnect #LincsArtCraftHour is on Monday from 12.00pm – 1.00pm but you can still search through it at any time of the week. In fact, you can search back weeks, months or years! Once the tweet is there, it stays there until the author deletes it. By duplicating the idea onto Facebook I want to include others who don’t use Twitter.
If you’re interested please do get in touch by email so that I can get everything coordinated. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Lets set a start date:
Monday 7 September 2020 from 12.00pm – 1.00pm then weekly at the same time.
How Will the LincsConnect Lincolnshire Art Craft Hour Work?
Here’s the deal:
It will rely on the artists and crafters to post their messages, links, pictures and special offers which MUST include the hashtags #LincsArtCraftHour and #LincsConnect
The hashtag #LincsConnect will automatically post your message to the database for everyone to see. Assume no one is looking for you on the hashtag until YOU tell them to have a look!
Post your messages with the hashtags and tag in your friends. Ask them to help spread the message by telling their friends. This cascade of conversation can quickly get the hashtag seen and used locally. As a result your posts will be seen by more and more people.
Here’s the crucial bit: You ‘must’ search the hashtag during the week to look at the posts and do your free networking. Get into conversations, say something positive, share other peoples posts. The more you share for others, the more likely they are to share for you.
Don’t worry that you aren’t available during the #LincsArtCraftHour because you can schedule your messages in advance to make sure that they hit the hashtag at the right time.
LincsConnect Lincolnshire Art Craft Hour – What’s In It For You?
The posts will be on twitter but I will also do follow up arts blogs. I’ll search the hashtag to see who has been interacting with others and as a ‘thank you’ I’ll highlight the posts in future blogs. I’ll also include links to your websites and social media pages.
What’s In It For Me?
I’ll create paid advertising slots, paid blog links and paid features. The whole process will be time consuming for me so I will need to have some form of recompense for my work. Will it make me a fortune? No! Will it pay my bills? Probably not! I always enjoy helping others though and if I can manage to produce a small income from my efforts, all the better.
Click on the picture to go straight to Daves Facebook page or click on this link @DaveSpherical to find him on Twitter
Dave recently joined me on Twitter and ‘Oh Boy’ he has some stunning pictures for sale. In this day and age where photos are easy to take with our digital mobile phones and editing platforms it’s such a joy to see some truly stunning pictures of nature at its best. This is just one picture of many that Dave has taken and is offering for sale so if you like what you see you should definitely get in touch.
Mel is widely known around the County and beyond and when you see her artwork you’ll understand why. Click on the picture to go straight to her website or click on this link @MelLangtonArt to follow her on Twitter
Mel creates some truly remarkable artwork including bespoke commissions like the one you can see above. I’ve been quietly following Mel on Twitter and can honestly say that her artwork really needs to be seen (and purchased of course).
Click on the picture to go to Ellies Etsy shop or click on this link @ElliesTreasures to follow her on Twitter
Arts and crafts go hand in hand and I’m sure you’ll agree that this hand made key ring really is delightful. You’ll find much more on Ellies Etsy shop page so why not pop over (click on the picture above) to discover more. I certainly don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
Click on this picture to go straight to the Etsy Shop page of Twibell Arts or click on this link @TwibellArts to follow Serena on Twitter. I’ve been following Serena for several years and am always amazed at her talent and versatility. Not only did she paint the picture of this gorgeous cat (commissions welcome) but she also made the decorations in the picture too.
Manipulating an image (in this case ‘two’ images) to make an interesting piece of art is really special. This image of Lincoln High Street was taken by John and blended with an old image to create a piece of art that goes beyond the normal photograph. Click on this picture to go to Johns website or click on this link @jpbphoography to follow him on twitter.
If you would like to place an advert on the Lincs Connect blogs please do get in touch. Bloggers can also have links to their blogs here too. Get in touch today if you would like to feature here by contacting me at email@example.com
Mandarin Therapies and Mandarin Mothers provide bespoke mobile complementary therapies (Covid-19 safe) including Aromatherapy massage, Antenatal, postnatal massage and injury rehabilitation. Click on the picture to go to the website or click on the links above to go to the social media pages
PCC Marc Jones is looking for young people to join the Lincolnshire Commission. It’s an opportunity for young people to help the police better understand their concerns and thoughts.
Click on the picture above to go to the website
See You Soon – At the LincsConnect Lincolnshire Art Craft Hour
That’s it for now but there will be lots more blogs here so please keep the link handy and log in for a quick catchup when you get the chance.
In Case You Missed It
The rules have’t changed – keep washing our hands as it’s the best way to help control Covid-19
When The Sun Goes Down…
Are you a lunchtime or evening meal sort of person? Whether you prefer to call it dinner or tea it makes no difference but I’m guessing the majority of people reading this will have their main meal in the evening. Perhaps the ‘lockdown’ has helped to change your eating habits? I do know that initially (way back in March) we were all suddenly thinking about food and toilet rolls. However, the initial rush and panic seems to be over now and our shopping habits are starting to return to something close to normal. Have you been missing your normal foods though? Many of them have been in short supply and we have been discouraged from nipping out to our favourite restaurants to eat with friends. However, some Lincolnshire companies have come up with some ingenious ways of surviving the lockdown so I thought I would share with you some of the establishments that I know of who are still trading and supplying take-away food and drink for us all to enjoy.
We don’t have to wait for the sun to go down to enjoy our dinner (or is it tea)? but it does pay to plan ahead. If you’re looking for something for lunch, dinner or an evening feast let’s see if we can share some ideas. I’ll list some of the Lincolnshire establishments that I know of but it certainly won’t be exhaustive so if you know someone that I’ve missed out please let me know in the comments below:
Caythorpe Water Mill are providing takeaway pizzas and burgers so if you’re in the area why not pre-book yours today? Just click on the picture to place your order or telephone 01507 451366
Lincolnshire Poacher Cheese provide delivery throughout the UK as well as pre-arranged sales direct from the farm. Click on the logo to go straight to their website www.lincolnshirepoachercheese.com or follow them on twitter @Poachercheese
Mail order Poacher Cheese delivered straight to your door. Click on the picture to go to the Lincolnshire Poacher Cheese Twitter page
Apley Lamb (Near Wragby) offers a free local delivery of freshly boxed lamb cut to order. Click on the logo to go straight to their facebook page or follow on Twitter @ApleyLamb
Post Covid-19 – Are We Ready?
Without doubt things have changed. The way we have lived our lives, the way we have thought, the way we have communicated, the way we have shopped….. A huge proportion of what we’ve done over the last few months has changed compared to what we were doing in February. I never would have thought that I would have managed without my car but since the Covid-19 outbreak my car has been on the drive and hasn’t moved other than to roll it forwards or backwards a few inches to prevent flat spots on the tyres. There will be a time in the not too distant future when I’ll be using it again of course. Being a mobile masseur and Personal Trainer I’ll need to be thinking of ways to see my clients again while keeping them (and myself) safe. We do of course, have the threat of re-infection looming over us so now is the time to make adjustments to help prevent that from happening.
Social media has been a lifeline for many of us as it’s allowed us to maintain contact with friends and followers throughout the lockdown. I’ve used it to collate lots of information and keep in touch with all sorts of people. It’s reminded me just how resilient we are and how well we can adapt. However, we are entering a new era at the moment where some of our old rules and precautions need to be revised. Shops are starting to open again which really is positive news but I wonder how many shop owners and local businesses have really thought through the precautions required for safely re-opening or increasing the staff levels in the immediate aftermath of Covid-19? Social (or should that be ‘physical’) distancing is at the top of our agenda at the moment of course. Those of us who have used the supermarkets recently have become used to it very quickly and the small businesses (butchers, bakers, local food stores) have become adept at restricting the numbers of people allowed in the shop at once.
Recent conversations on social media with Alex of The Specialist Safety Group have made me realise that many of us may not be as ready as we thought we were for the ‘grand re-opening’ of our businesses. Yes, we all know about distancing and restricted entry to our businesses but have we considered other Health & Safety at Work issues too? We don’t want, or anticipate having a fire at work but we have to plan for it. How would fire evacuation change with the new distancing precautions? Perhaps we have a dedicated first responder at work should someone be taken ill. Have rules change with the distancing precautions? Perhaps insurance companies may require us to have new documentation/risk assessments post lockdown? What about cleaning? Will our ‘normal’ cleaning practices need to change? I know my cleaning practices will have to change. My massage couch and exercise equipment will need to be cleaned with different solutions from now on.
If you have any concerns about starting up again and returning to ‘business as normal’ you might like to chat to Alex at the Specialist Safety Group Ltd. He has a dedicated ‘Return To Work Safely’ package that normally costs around £339.00 but by quoting this LincsConnect blog you’ll be able to receive a 10% discount. I’m sure this offer won’t last forever though so contact Alex on 07870 760 145 to confirm your discount. You can also email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or click on the logo above to go straight to the website
Stourton Estates is delivering Venison around the County and orders over £25.00 can enjoy FREE delivery within 20 miles of LN9 5PB
Mountain Abbey Parks Farm Shop selling fresh and cooked meats, chutneys, plumb bread….. You’ll need to click on the picture to follow the link to their Facebook page for a full list!
Fully online and sold locally around the County you can easily get your hands on some of these award winning botanical chocolates. simply click on the logo to go straight to Fionas’ website to learn more or click this link Sciolti Chocks to follow on Facebook
Sandhams Wine Merchant in Caistor offer both in store (social distance rules apply) and mail order options with a huge range of wines and easy to navigate price list. Click on this link to go to their Facebook page or click on their logo to go straight to the website
Docks Beers is more than just ‘beer’ but you’ll need to visit their shop to discover their full range – and it’s all delivered too! If you fancy a gin, they’ve got that covered too. click on the logo to go straight to their website/shop.
For more information about Docks Beers click on the photo to go to their facebook page or follow them on twitter @DocksBeers
Message In A Bottle deliver a huge range of drinks across Cleethorpes & Grimsby. From local to international beers, gins, rums…. You need to check their website for a full list. You can find them on Facebook by clicking on their logo or or on Twitter @miabcleethorpes
This picture says it all so just click on it to go straight to the order page. Enjoy
Let’s Get Back to Doing What We Do Best
I don’t know about you but I’m really ‘chomping at the bit’ to get cracking again. I love helping people and making them feel better whether that’s through exercise, massage, injury rehabilitation or injury prevention. Many people will have been suffering with stress related problems since the lockdown and my diary is already starting to fill with new clients who are suffering with neck, shoulder, back and sleep issues as a result of the lockdown. If you are in need of help please feel free to contact me at email@example.com or pay a visit to my website www.mandarintherapies.com or www.mandarinfitness.com where you’ll get a better idea of what I have to offer. I’m also on facebook of course Mandarin Therapies & Mandarin Fitness so feel free to follow me there too.
CLICK ON THE PICTURE TO PLAY THE FULL VIDEO
When I say I have a website; if you visit it you’ll quickly notice that it’s a very old site. I do have a new one but I would much rather be doing my fitness and therapies than ‘wasting time’ on the website stuff! Am I alone? Does anyone else put off doing admin ‘stuff’ in favour of getting on with the real work?
As a sole trader I really value my time with clients and would much rather be doing what I do best than shuffling paper and files! Needless to say, much of my admin work gets put off to the last minute before getting actioned. I know I shouldn’t but…!
Perhaps I should consider the services of a Virtual Assistant (VA)? I’ve been chatting to Nikki from www.Time4U-VA.co.uk who certainly seems to have the admin sorted! My muddled, dyslexic brain is reflected on my muddled and (seemingly) disorganised desk. Unlike Nikki who is adept at multi tasking with a clear desk. Is there such a thing as desk envy?
Perhaps it’s time to re-think my working practices? I know that I’m going to have to work very long hours (and probably 7 days a week) to catch up with the backlog of work over the months between now and Christmas. I’m guessing that my experience will be mirrored across many industries and not least by the food & drink industries. Let’s face it, Lincolnshire has some fine artisan food and drink producers as well as some fantastic restaurants and bars. Preparing and serving or delivering these fantastic products is a passion for most but I wonder how many really have the time for updating menus and completing the admin? Don’t get me started on book keeping! Thankfully I don’t have payroll issues being a sole trader but I can imagine they will be a necessary evil for many businesses. Perhaps ‘now’ is the time to consider how we are going to tackle the admin while staying on top of our game with our work. Perhaps Nikki can help you?
Click on the logo to go straight to the website
Fully Online – You can order your No 12 Chocolatier handmade chocolates online now and receive them in the post. That’s an offer you can hardly refuse! Follow @No12Chocolatier on Twitter and just click on the picture to go straight to the online shop.
Uncle Henrys Farm Shop is providing a home delivery service within a range of 10 miles but don’t let the Gainsborough address fool you as it’s situated on the A15 and the delivery range is quite extensive. Click on the picture to follow them on Facebook or follow them on twitter from here: @unclehenryslinc
Brakes Food Hub in Grantham provides the full call & collection service for all of your food shopping from fresh to frozen to cake to…. you’ll need to click on the picture to go to their website to see more. Offering a call and collect service 7 days a week. Tel 0344 800 4900 (option 4) place your order. Follow @John_Nicky on twitter too for more updates.
Gelston Lamb deliver in the Grantham/Sleaford areas. Click on the picture to go to their Facebook page or follow them on Twitter for more updates @GelstonLamb
Teaspoon Tea Company have a free local delivery service and a full mail order selection including tea, coffee, gift packs, gift vouchers, birthday cards, chocolate by @No12Chocolatier honey by @ArtisanHoneyCo and quite a bit more. Click on the picture to go to their website. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised
Anderson’s Family Butchers are providing a ‘text and collect’ system in Heighington. Simply text our order then collect when it’s ready. 07983003435 or 07880745083 – click on the picture to follow on Facebook
The Inn On The Green, Ingham (on the outskirts of Lincoln) are providing a local takeaway service of food and drinks. Click on the photo to go straight to the order form and you can follow them on Facebook The Inn On The Green Ingham
The Bowl Full Tapas restaurant will be providing pre-paid take away meals from 15 May. Click on the picture to go to their Facebook page or follow them on twitter @BowlFullTapas
Browns Pie Shop – Orders are cooked and delivered cold for re-heating at home. Orders can be delivered or collected. Click on this picture for more info or call 07809 477126 to pace an order
Cafe Portico are now providing take away pizza for your delight. Orders taken from your car (or on foot if you’re walking there), cooked to order and delivered fresh to you when it’s ready. All made possible with mobile contactless payments. Click on the logo to visit their Facebook page or go to their website for the latest menu www.cafeportico.co.uk You can also follow them on twitter @CaffePortico
Grow Your Own
Isn’t it fantastic that we have all of these lovely local Lincolnshire restaurants, cafes and takeaways who’re working hard to serve us during the lockdown and beyond. They really have been up against it and are a testament to the resilience that has been so evident during the lockdown. Being in Lincolnshire we’re lucky to have such wide open spaces with lots of farmers producing some superb crops for us and for the local restaurants. Wouldn’t it be nice though if we could produce some of the fruit and vegetables for ourselves? Not all of us are able to enjoy a large garden so perhaps a vegetable patch isn’t a high priority when we need to consider making our space into a multi purpose area for children to play and for us to relax. However, having chatted to Simon (you may remember him from previous blogs) I think he’s found the perfect solution. If you have space for a straw bale in your garden or yard it appears that you have space for a vegetable patch!
Having looked around Simon’s website I’m at a loss as to what to include here. Not only does he run StrawbaleVeg growing courses from your own home (corporate events too) but he sells own brand seeds at realistic prices. I was very impressed to learn that while some others had increased prices significantly during the lockdown Simon kept his prices static. Well done Sir, I’m very impressed. It’s little things like this that catch my attention and impress me the most. I digress – who would have thought that you could grow your vegetables in a concrete yard or in such a small space? Obviously Simon did and I think it’s a fantastic idea. I was going to include pictures of the vegetable seeds that he supplies but there are far to many to list here. If you click on the picture above you’ll be taken straight to the www.strawbaleveg.co.uk website where you’ll be able to make your won selection and have them delivered.
Click on this picture to purchase The Strawbale Gardeners Handbook Vol 1
Would you believe that Simon has also produced an eBook which can be downloaded by clicking on the picture above ‘and’ a DVD that can be purchased from the website www.strawbaleveg.co.uk – you have been busy Simon!
Curry Jacks provides a mobile service around the Lincoln area on a Pre-Order basis. Take a look at their Facebook page for regular updates by clicking on the logo or follow on Twitter @CurryJackscaf
Damons, Doddington Road, Lincoln will be offering a drive through service from Thursday 21 May 20. Call ahead with your order (01522) 887722 or click on the menu to visit their website
Doddington Hall Farm Shop are still open for your shopping but please obey the social distancing rules. Follow them on Twitter @DoddingtonHall or click on the logo to find them on facebook.
FAB Craft Beer from Fiskerton are busy delivering boxed beer as well as bottled beers around the Lincoln area so why not click on the picture to follow them on Facebook or perhaps follow them on Twitter too @FABcraftbeer
The Garden Tea Room in North Hykeham is providing a Lincoln and surrounding area home delivery service for a modest £2.00 and they also have cakes, cheesecakes and lots more goodies to choose from. Click on this picture to follow them on Facebook and take a look at their menu below:
Burton Waters is the home to The Greek House who are now providing takeaway meals. Have a look at their menu and pre-order on 01522 542758. Click on the menu to follow them on Facebook
Imperial Teas of Lincoln are providing FREE DELIVERY on their mail order teas and coffees right now. That’s a great offer that can’t last forever so be sure to get your order in quickly. You can follow Imperial Teas Lincoln on facebook or on Twitter @Imperial_Teas Click on the logo to go straight to website to make your order – If you like your coffee strong I can personally recommend the Voodoo Comet.
Lincolnshire Brewing Company – delivering a selection of beers to suite every taste or collect directly from Langworth. Click on the picture to find them on facebook or follow them on Twitter @LincsBrewCo
MaCH Indian Restaurant (Wragby Road) are now offering a takeaway service. Click on the logo to find them on Facebook or go straight to their website to place your order www.machrestaurant.co.uk
Ole Ole Tapas Bar offer a delivery and (social distancing) collection service for their meals. Click on the logo to go to their Facebook page and click on the link here to go straight to their menu/order form www.oleolelincoln.co.uk or call them on 01522 534222
Lincoln & Gainsborough – Redhill Farm Shop offer a delivery and contactless collection service with safe in-store shopping too. Click on the picture to go straight to their website or follow them on Twitter @RedhillFarmPork
Sammys Chinese takeaway is set to open again on 20 May with social distancing rules in place (of course). Click on the picture to go to the ‘Lincoln food To Go’ Facebook group page. You can find Sammy’s Kitchen at Unit 11 Lambeth House, Woodhall Drive and you can call to make your order on 01522 567333
Cafe Shanti Vegan restaurant are now doing take away hot and frozen food (including breakfasts and curries) so why not order yours today? you can call them on 07735161481 or find them on twitter @Cafe_Shanti and Facebook by clicking on the picture
Veg Out Lincoln provides a delivery service in the Lincoln area including a vegan inspired recipe box and plant powered food plan. Gemma will have her new online booking site and new website ready very soon but in the mean time you can contact her through twitter @vegoutincoln or click on the picture for a link to her book
Beaumon’t Deli on Bridge Street in Louth are open to take your orders. You can follow them on Facebook Beaumont’s Deli or call 01507 355927
Takeaway Weekends. Call 01778346952 to order or click on this picture to go to the website
Cote Hill Cheese delivers cheese and milk locally. Click on the picture to go to their Facebook page
Minting (near Wragby) Farm Shop has a collection service with your safety in mind. Give them a call today to place your order. Click on the logo to go straight to their website
Lymn Bank Farm handmade cheese. FREE delivery on orders over £20.00. You can follow them on Twitter @lymnbankfarm or click on this logo to go straight to their Facebook page
FREE DELIVERY. Go too www.postacheese.com for details and your order form or click on this picture to take you straight there.
A Little Luxury Distillery is still taking orders for Gin & Rum which will be delivered direct to your home. Click on the picture to go to the shop or follow on Facebook A Little Luxury and Twitter @ALittleLuxuryLt
A real pub providing real beer. Buy a bottle and bring it back to get a refill – what an excellent idea. Click on the picture to find them on Facebook for an up-to-date- list of times and ales
Takeaway Afternoon Tea from @TheElm_Tree just outside Spilsby. Click on the picture to find them on Facebook and don’t forget, you can buy gift vouchers too!
Woodhall Spa Bakery & Delicatessen provides fresh bread, cakes meats and much more. A gem in the Woodhall Spa crown offering Safe Distancing shopping. Click the picture to go to their Facebook page
The India Village restaurant and takeaway are providing takeaway meals during the lockdown. If you would like to order your meal click on the logo to go to the website or follow them on Facebook India Village. Alternatively you can give them a call on 01526 354657 or 01526 352223
The Tea House In The Woods is providing a range of foods from Afternoon Tea to Roast Meals and they’re all Take Away too with strict social distancing rules. click on the picture to go to their website or give them a ring on 01526 354455. You can also find them on Facebook at Tea House In The Woods
All this talk of food has made me quite hungry! This list is going to be added to but I’m going to get myself something to eat now. Bon appetite everyone and please don’t forget to let me know if there are any takeaway/safe shopping food outlets that need to be on here as I can add them later.
Mandarin Therapies provides a bespoke mobile complementary therapies service from the comfort of your own home. Gift vouchers are available now then book your massage for later in the year. Mandarin Therapies “Feel the difference”
How secure is secure? Information on your computer, smartphone or TV could be at risk. There is some fantastic support around to help and guide so read on to discover what I’ve found:
How secure Is Secure? – Suspicious emails
Having had a few comments on my blogs my suspicions were raised as I noted the addresses of the emails. It’s nice to think my posts have reached a large global audience .de (Germany) and .xyz (who knows where?) but beware! Don’t approve comments without first checking their credibility. How? I put the question out to social media and as a result I received an interesting tweet from Liam @ZaddleMarketing
Liam advised me not to click any links or email addresses in those suspicious comments, confirming my fears that these posts were SPAM. A good security plugin for my WordPress site will solve the problem. Thank you Liam for your sound advice.
There are lots of good people on social media who can be trusted of which Liam is one. It’s always best to ask the question of your contacts if ever you’re in doubt.
Thank You Kerrin
Thank you Kerrin @Kerrinwilson999 for your hospitality (and the lovely cake of course). It was lovely to meet you and I’m looking forward to extending the reach of LincsConnect to include regular posts by you and your team. Thankfully I have already had some security tips from some of your colleagues and that information has proved invaluable. Hopefully you’ll enjoy my short post here today and will have time to add a comment too.
Meetings always seem more productive with cake!
Getting It Right By Chance
I’ve heard that smart speakers listen to our conversations. It’s not uncommon for adverts to pop up on our social media platforms directly relating to a conversation the previous day. It’s extremely uncommon (I’m led to believe) that an iMac can be infected but if it’s going to happen to anyone, it’ll happen to me!
Technology and I don’t always gel I’m afraid. Having feared the worst following a rash of phishing emails (ransom emails sent to my inbox supposedly from my own address) it was time for action. The safest solution was to contact Lincolnshire Police Cyber Crime Unit who responded very quickly with a visit to my office.
A full inspection of my computer confirmed that the emails were really just phishing emails and should be deleted. A nagging feeling that something wasn’t right remained after several other incidents with my computer. As a result I contacted Apple who decided a full restore and section by section re-build was required. I’m happy now that my computer and details are safe once again. If you’re worried about your online safety and security don’t hesitate to contact a professional for help.
What if it’s true that the smart devices can leak our information? A recent BBC Panorama programme about Amazon revealed that they knowingly and openly harvest and use our information. I don’t think the machines (or people) are listening to every conversation but when key words are detected the link is made with you and your devices.
Recent news reports highlighted that smart devices can be hacked and accessed remotely. The video doorbells, video baby monitors and even smart TVs and smart fridges are all susceptible to hackers. Accessing our personal data can be very upsetting and worrying of course so we need to protect ourselves.
How secure is secure? If we can access any devices from our smartphone it’s a fair bet that the unscrupulous criminals can do the same. The smart fridge, smart monitor and smart TV come with factory settings and passwords. These settings can be found easily online so to prevent hacking make sure you change the passwords immediately.
Hacking your fridge isn’t too much of a problem of course but accessing your router from your fridge or your smart TV etc may be more sinister.
How Secure Is Secure? Passwords
The obvious and most basic form of self protection is strong passwords. Do change the passwords from factory settings to something that you can remember. Family, friends or pets names do not make good passwords. These names are likely to crop up on your social media pages at some point so can easily be guessed.
Random passwords are by far the best option. For the best security have different passwords for different logins. There are some very clever Apps around that can store your passwords for you but I’m sure you’ll have a system that works for you.
You can secure your devices by making sure they are protected by a security password, facial recognition, finger print and VPN (I’ll cover VPN later).
It’s better to be safe than sorry! Keeping your personal information safe should be a high priority and simple precautions may be all you need.
If you have data stored on you mobile device make sure it’s protected with a security code and backed up regularly. Some devices can be deleted remotely; Check so see if you can do that with your own device and make sure you learn how to do it.
How Secure Is Secure? Two Factor Authenticaton
Added security comes with two factor authentication – that’s when you get an alert on your chosen device to tell you that someone is accessing your other devices. My iPhone will prompt me to confirm that I am who I say I am when I log onto my computer. As a result I have to type in a ‘one time’ code before the computer will let me in. It takes seconds and provides an extra level of security.
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How Secure Is Secure?
Change your passwords from factory settings to secure ones that aren’t easily guessed. Use a different password for every device. So you’re good to go….? Well, not quite! Your router may not be secure so if you’re not sure ask your provider to guide you through changing the factory set password.
You’re ‘almost’ there… You’re now safe in your own home but not when you’re out and about if you’re using public WiFi. How secure is that system? Your final piece of security is VPN.
What is VPN? This is the explanation from Wikipedia: “A virtual private network extends a private network across a public network, and enables users to send and receive data across shared or public networks as if their computing devices were directly connected to the private network.” You might want to look this one up for yourself.
A ‘belt and braces’ approach to security but if you have any private or confidential information on your devices do read a bit more about it. It is a ‘paid for’ service so you’ll need to be aware of that and you’ll also need to be aware that not all internet routers are capable of installing it. Once installed on your home router ‘all’ devices using that WiFi connection will be protected under the higher level of security. I have it installed and the one I chose covers six devices. I have it on my iPhone and iPad so that I know I’m secure whenever I log into a public WiFi system.
It’s Good To Share
All of this information comes from trusted people I’ve spoken to who have been kind enough to guide me. I’m not an expert but some of the things I’ve learned along the way and printed here will no doubt be useful to you. If you are able to share other tips that may be useful for other users feel free to add a comment and send a message on twitter or Facebook using the hashtag #LincsConnect
Helping each other is always good of course. If you need additional help contact your Internet Service Provider (ISP) or local IT specialist. If you’re worried about cyber security contact @lincspolice and ask about their Cyber Security courses. I’ve been on one and can highly recommend it. After all, these are the experts who really want to help you to prevent crime.
Thank you all for taking the time to read my ramblings. I’ll be back soon with more blogs of course but keep watching as they are about to evolve into something quite unique.