The WordCamp Halifax 2017 Experience

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Well, the FIRST-EVER WordCamp Halifax has come and gone on May 27th, 2017 – and what a camp it was! It was the first time a WordCamp has been held east of Montreal, and I was proud to be a lead organizer and help bring this event to our region. It takes months of planning, budgeting, seeking sponsors, finding and booking spaces, and rounding up volunteers all accumulating in a day of education, comradery, and FUN!

A WordCamp is primarily built on people. My co-leads, the volunteers, and our gracious host of speakers all give of their time and energy to make an event like this happen. Along with support from the foundation, any group of people can put one on. WordPress is open-source and non-profit, and WordCamps follow specific guidelines that remain true to these values.

Organizing a WordCamp has been a tremendous learning experience for myself and co-leads Alison Knott, and Tara Andrews. We all share design as a common thread, and taking on the roles of event managers was new to us. Again, with support from the Foundation, and other Camp leaders, we managed to pull it off in the end. I won’t say it was perfect, with a few minor bumps in the road – but with plenty of feedback pouring in, it promises to be even bigger and better next year.

So for me it all began at the Speaker’s Dinner, held the night before Camp at the Red Stag Pub in Halifax. My wife and I attended, and had a chance to gab with and be introduced to all the speakers. I was impressed with the caliber of the crowd, being not only WordPress experts, but also fun, down-to-earth, awesome people. Speakers came from a variety of backgrounds and locations including Nova Scotia, PEI, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ottawa, Florida, Illinois and Tennessee. Good food was eaten, and good times were had by all.

The actual day of Camp, I donned my red T-shirt, feeling much like a young Star Trek ensign, and headed over the bridge to Halifax, with my motorcycle loaded down with supplies for the adventure. For me, as lead, the actual camp was a blur. I found myself running around all day dealing with minor issues including bringing cords, batteries, setup up tech, dealing with food, happiness bar, and generally filling in where needed. I even led a team charged with the task of tying up balloons to mark the route from the Camp to the after party, just up the road. So in the end, I only had the opportunity to sit in on one session. I know, a different first WordCamp experience, but now I’ve got the bug. You can likely find me speaking in Montreal or Ottawa next year, if not here in Halifax.

The After Party was a hit as well, and once we closed down The Pub, we moved on to the Lion’s Head, another great Halifax Pub on the other side of town. The night ended at the Halifax AleHouse, where a select few carried on the festivities including the infamous Carl Alexander (the real one, not the Carlboard version.) It was a late night, and an early morning for me – being a local and a father, I had a Dance Recital followed by a birthday party at a local pool in town lined up with my 6-year old. Which is why I didn’t stay late at the After-after Party held on at Alison’s folk’s place, set on a beautiful local lake, equipped with firepit, hottub, heated screen room, and dock. (It was amazing there – and remember, I’m local!)

All in all, my first WordCamp experience was amazing. It was a lot of work, don’t get me wrong, but totally worth it. If you’re considering joining up or even starting one in your area, I can tell you, it’s a worthwhile endeavor. Until next year, keep on WordPressing away and I’ll see you at Camp!

How to Secure and Harden WordPress Against Hackers

By | Coding, Design, Training, Web Design, WordPress, Workshops | No Comments

title-slide(Originally presented at Volta Labs Halifax, for the Halifax WordPress User Group on Oct.20, 2016.)

Though often overlooked, security measures should be integral to every WordPress install.  Due to its open-source nature, WordPress can be particularly susceptible to hackers. If you haven’t spent any time SECURING your site, this is your wake up call!

Having a site hacked can get you on the google ban list – which is difficult to get off of. Your site may also lose hard-earned traffic, and your company may lose face. Hackers choose the sites that are easy to hack and have no safeguards in place, so by spending a few hours here and there HARDENING your WordPress site – you can prevent future headaches!

I’ve been at this ten years now, and I’ve seen sites with spam injected, ad redirects, entire makeovers in Arabic, and more! Today we will cover the basics of securing your site, and also delve in to more advanced techniques.

THE BASICS

slide2Back up often

If anything goes awry at any time, a recent backup of your site will be a godsend – you can simply ‘turn back the clock’ and restore your site to it’s proper state! I backup sites monthly in three ways:

1 – I pull the entire thing down via FTP
2 – I backup the MySQL database to a local drive
3 – I export the WordPress site structure

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure here!

slide3Keep WordPress up-to-date

WordPress updates often patch security holes in the software. Again, the open-source nature of WordPress is a double edged sword – because when updates are released, details of the patches (and security flaws) are published openly to the public…. including hackers. By keeping your CORE, THEMES and PLUGINS up-to-date, you can mitigate potential hacks.

Delete plugins and themes you are not using

Be ruthless. Don’t just DEACTIVATE plugins – it’s not enough. Frankly, each plugin you have is a potential backdoor into your site – close as many of these doors as you can! Also, be sure to delete plugins that are not frequently updated, or haven’t been updated in 1 year or more. (Consider replacing these plugins with more stable and frequently updated ones with the same or similar functionality.)

slide5Do not use ‘admin’ as any username on the site

This is where hackers begin. A simple change to your username can make a world of difference.

Change your password often – and make it a good one every time!

Lots of people use random strings of letters and numbers for a password – which are okay. In fact, there are lots of password generators online that can generate these strings for you:

Cloudwards Password Generator
– Password Generator
Norton Password Generator

slide6However, I find a group of 4-5 random words to be the best password. The longer a password is, the more exponentially secure it is. In my experience a random string is hard for humans to remember, but easy for something like Brute Force to parse. Something like ‘table light projector security remote’ is hard for machines to parse, but easy for us humans to remember.

Also, consider using cloud-based password-storage software. These apps store your passwords, and you need know only one password to unlock anything and everything you do online. I used a package called ROBOFORM, but I hear LASTPASS is a great option as well.

slide7Move your login page

Most Brute Force attacks are automated with bots. These bots scrub the net looking for WordPress login pages. Change yours from sitename.com/wp-admin or sitename.com/wp-login.php to something else. Then the bots can’t find your login page, and they move on to an easier target. I use the ‘LOCKDOWN WP ADMIN’ plugin for this, though a number of other security plugins with provide this feature as well.

slide8Limit Login Attempts

Programs like Brute Force try multiple logins in a short span until they gains access to your website. A simple way to combat this is to limit your logins attempts. Three failures, and than a lockout for an hour is a typical setup. I use the LOGIN LOCKDOWN plugin, though some of the major security plugins offer this as a feature as well.

Use a different database prefix -> not wp_

‘wp_’ is the default mySQL prefix that hackers look for in databases to identify WordPress sites and file structures. Setting the prefix to something else makes it harder for them to figure out what you have going on under-the-hood. Setting the prefix should be done at site install. If not, the ALL IN ONE WP SECURITY plugin has this feature and many others. If there’s one plugin I recommend you install to begin beefing up your security, this is it.

slide10Keep your computer updated

Believe it or not, hackers can sometime worm their way into your site via a compromised computer. Everything is connected nowadays, so try to keep all the conduits to your information in the cloud as secure as you can. Ensure you update your desktop software when required and run an anti-virus program at home. For Windows 10 machines, I recommend MICROSOFT SECURITY ESSENTIALS. It’s relatively lightweight, and free. Other options include AVG FREE and AVAST!

slide11MORE ADVANCED TECHNIQUES

So now we’ll delve into some more advanced techniques to harden your WordPress site against hackers. For those comfortable with php code, this is the way to do it. A few code additions to some of your core files can do a lot of work for you.

For those uncomfortable with coding, I recommend using a plugin like ALL IN ONE WP SECURITY that can help implement some of these security measures without having to delve into the codebase. But remember, in WordPress, the more plugins, the more backdoors – so it’s BEST to do stuff in the code if you can.

slide12Set your FILE PERMISSIONS

This will secure the files so that they are ‘locked down’ to outsiders. This is done via FTP software like FILEZILLA. Login to your server via FTP and see what your permissions are set to and change as needed. WordPress recommends the following settings:

– Directories – 755 or 750
– Files – 644 or 640
– Wp-config.php – 600

KEYS AND SALTS

slide13WordPress ships with special security codes called keys and salts that help secure your site. They are used to double-verify your site ownership – keeping the passwords in the config file and out of the database. This means a hacker will have to gain access to BOTH of these places to get in, not just one. Unfortunately, these are not active right out of the box on your WordPress install.  Open up your wp-config.sys file and look around line 30-40. You should see:

define(‘AUTH_KEY’, ‘put your unique phrase here’);
define(‘SECURE_AUTH_KEY’, ‘put your unique phrase here’);
define(‘LOGGED_IN_KEY’put your unique phrase here’);
define(‘NONCE_KEY’, ‘put your unique phrase here’);
define(‘AUTH_SALT’, ‘put your unique phrase here’);
define(‘SECURE_AUTH_SALT’, ‘put your unique phrase here’);
define(‘LOGGED_IN_SALT’put your unique phrase here’);
define(‘NONCE_SALT’, ‘put your unique phrase here’);

To update, you can create long random keys yourself – or just obtain new random keys from WordPress Central at:

https://api.wordpress.org/secret-key/1.1/salt/

To implement, simply replace the lines in your wp-config.php with the ones you generate here. For example:

define(‘AUTH_KEY’, ‘m=x$pSozxu(lkwS1tA$HWj1Y%p:EqW-:THd-@Op5Fo MJI$b+I*G0Ru~IWY c1uT’);
define(‘SECURE_AUTH_KEY’, ‘-(]afKYj,myC>C2QQT%N`w7oXu/^4Z+.{;0>U+1I|~=`R?=8g,-zL@!Y{FT$Jd:S’);
define(‘LOGGED_IN_KEY’, ‘|YLBico]F=>!JQJ69]e*r:%v>j`]KyP,QFI%@w(,;Tp1F;(m!J=vo8F;|MfdR#4t’);
define(‘NONCE_KEY’, ‘ZvmD9 w x*%Xl`2&,|_#6.|cgr:zIXF^`Oq@K+H&Q?| pU`e8q@8H7f?/,dyT^P+’);
define(‘AUTH_SALT’, ‘sg<*#Q%hPc?+quT<[rgtU9[BR=4n}Q_6J{^rgy]ko,K}0&1~2r__o*)N,2Yv,i:{‘);
define(‘SECURE_AUTH_SALT’, ‘UqH6~1!2mS|0MpfZrG+O/+JVac*w]1#&&;KYw!>w+p+3QSL_!Cri}Y2Rhh@%*g%_’);
define(‘LOGGED_IN_SALT’, ‘BE|zX_g@Lbr@VH:M-9 bf.xj|xfE&Vv;/asi@qBC_pNbzqw=y-t_|Q{RW|$q#Now’);
define(‘NONCE_SALT’, ‘{Sg#m-4*|ze7b!.tu*>:~)ciiGL itj`;(c=+Qe(yWVllA%c,T5c|Nd7Smf}rG]+’);

slide14More wp-config.php editing

Now that you’ve got your wp-config.sys open to check on those keys and salts, we can begin making some more additions to this file to add further functionality.

Turn off the plugin and theme editor

If you’re not using WordPress to edit the PHP code of your theme and plugins, you should turn this off. Most developers edit off-site on a downloaded copy in their own software, and then use FTP to zip the completed file back up. The built-in editor is clunky and really kind of an afterthought IMHO. It allows logged in users access to your file system. To disable it for you (and any hackers who’ve wormed their way in) you should insert the following code in your wp-config.sys file:

define( ‘DISALLOW_FILE_EDIT’, true );

Automate core, plugin and theme updates

Don’t login in often? Hate updating themes, plugins and the core manually like a sucker, but want your site up-to-date? Automate! Simply add this code to your wp-config.php file:

# Enable all core updates, including minor and major:
define( ‘WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE’, true );
# Automatically update plugins:
add_filter( ‘auto_update_plugin’, ‘__return_true’ );
# Automatically update themes:
add_filter( ‘auto_update_theme’, ‘__return_true’ );

slide15.htaccess editing

The .htaccess file is a powerful little file that lives at the root directory of your site. It stands for HyperText Access, and common uses include redirects, URL rewriting, and to blocking access to certain files. We can add some code and do the following:

Hide wp-config:

order allow,deny
deny from all

Make site directories non-browsable:

Options All -Indexes

Restrict access to IP:

order deny,allow
Deny from all
# allow access from my IP address
allow from 192.168.1.1

Block IPs:

order allow,deny
deny from 46.13.8.9
allow from all IPs:

slide16Hide author usernames

When someone inputs ‘?author=1’ after your url they are redirected to homepage when you add this to your functions.php file:

add_action(‘template_redirect’, ‘bwp_template_redirect’);
function bwp_template_redirect()
{
if (is_author())
{
wp_redirect( home_url() ); exit;
}
}

Install a plugin like: All In One WP Security

My final recommendation is to install a security plugin like ALL IN ONE WP SECURITY to fill in any further gaps.

 

Website overhaul

By | Family, Web Design | No Comments

Those who visit often may note that the website has recently undergone a complete overhaul. It was long overdue for an update, and when the time came, I decided to overhaul it to better display my online portfolio of work. The new site offers a portfolio sorted into categories, and some slick new hover effects that I really dig for the photos.

Tomorrow marks Valentine’s Day, so now it’s time to get back to work wrapping up a few client jobs, before putting the finishing touches on this year’s card for my loving wife. Such is the life of a entrepreneur, husband and new father.

Till next time.

Social Media Workshops and Training

By | Networking, Social Media, Training, Workshops | No Comments

Wow. March has been a busy month here at Rich Graphics – not just with branding and design work – but an with abundance of workshops, seminars, presentations and training sessions in Social Media as well.

At the beginning of the month, I hit the road with the NSAR (Nova Scotia Association of REALTORS®) as their keynote speaker as they did their annual meeting in each region of the province. My role was to present my ‘Using, Branding and Integrating Social Media for REALTORS®’ presentation to each.

The presentations were roughly an hour long, and were delivered to six regions in five days. I presented in Sydney, Antigonish, Truro, Halifax, Bridgewater and Yarmouth. Halifax was by-far the most intimidating venue, with over 220 in attendance, and people parking on the street of the hotel due to lack of room in the lot.

The presentations were very well received, with guests taking notes and asking plenty of questions. A few have even contacted me since, for private training, to attend a more in-depth workshop, and even to begin planning and management of their social media strategies.

The middle of the month marked my ‘Hands-On Social Media Training Workshop‘ where I had nine in attendance. The workshop consisted of three-hours of hands-on training, with attendees logged into their facebook, LinkedIn and twitter accounts, learning to set up and use them properly. I also touch on a number of management tools, websites and apps to leverage these tools and take their Social Media to the next level.

And rounding out the month, yesterday I presented ‘Using, Branding and Integrating Social Media for Business’ at the Bconnected Trade Show that took place at Taboo in Halifax.

When I started this business three years ago, I had no idea I would become a sought-after trainer. In fact, I wasn’t all that comfortable speaking in public. It always amazes me to see the direction my business takes. It’s an ever-evolving entity!

So, if you’re looking to learn more about Social Media – please contact me today. I have been ‘in the trenches’ for the past three years, and am always happy to share my knowledge. In fact, keep an eye on the Hands-On website for upcoming training dates and be sure to book early. They tend to fill up quickly.

Till next time, keep on tweeting!

Nova Scotia Come To Life Interview

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A few weeks ago, I did an interview with a lovely young lady from M5 Communications for the Nova Scotia Come to Life initiative. I’ve posted the interview in it’s entirety below. (To see the original, simply follow this link.)
Hailing from the hometown of the heroic Sidney Crosby, Richard Black’s introductory line of choice is: “I knew Sid the Kid; I used to bully him on the playground.” Of course, Black is quick to admit the story doesn’t check out: he’s 10 years Sidney’s senior.
But, that’s just the type of guy Rich Black is – friendly, conversational, droll; a social being; the type of guy that immediately puts you at ease with his pleasant and relaxed demeanor.
That’s probably why networking comes as second nature to him. Lucky for him. In his line of work, networking is key to success. At least, it has been the key to Black’s success.
Richard Black operates his own web and graphic design company in Dartmouth. When he’s not busy building corporate identities from scratch, designing websites or putting together the myriad pieces of the Web 2.0 puzzle for his clients (and training them in how to use it), he’s networking with peers and potential customers – constantly staying on top of the scene; continually evolving his business.
“There’s a fine balance between networking as much as possible to ensure business development unfolds and actually sitting in front of the computer and producing tangible results,” says Black. “And both aspects of the business (development and production of high quality collateral) are equally important.”
In fact, Black finds so much value in networking that he developed his own informal group, called Dartnet. When it began in January 2009, Dartnet comprised a few dedicated members who met weekly over breakfast. Today, Dartnet meets monthly and has expanded its membership ten-fold. In fact, this January more than 40 people celebrated the first anniversary of Dartnet as they informally chatted about the industry to which they all have intimate ties.
Certainly, Black’s tie to the design industry is an intimate one. The Cole Harbour native studied at NSCAD University for a few years and then attended the New Brunswick Community College where he concentrated in animation and design. From there, he landed a gig producing animation for a CBC show. Today he heads up Rich Graphics from his home office.
Rich Graphics is a small design studio that offers cohesive design solutions for both print and web applications. Black designs for a multitude of media, including: brand identities, graphic design for print, web design and development, social media and web hosting. His clients include small- to medium-sized businesses, most of whom are local.
“Local small- and medium-size businesses have always been my target audience,” explains Black, as he reflects on the entrepreneurial dream he has made a reality. “We have a vibrant business community here in Nova Scotia. I try to stay true to my roots; support the local community as much as possible.”
Most recently, he developed the website for the Governor General’s community spirit award. But he has also worked for many clients across diverse sectors.
Black finds clients by doing what he does best: socializing, mingling at professional networking events or chatting via social media.
And positive word of mouth from his uber-satisfied clients doesn’t hurt, either.
It’s no wonder this people-person has a passion for new media: he lives and breathes social interaction every day of his life. Black explains, “Social media is part of what I sell. I’ve set up custom Facebook pages and coinciding Twitter backgrounds for clients; then I show them how to work it all.”
And soon, he will embark on a speaking tour focusing on social media and how to use it corporately. He will be sharing his insights and experiences with Nova Scotia’s business community.
Regarding social media, Black says “I think people are innately social creatures, and that’s why they’re taking through Facebook and Twitter – not just in their personal lives, but in the workplace as well.
“I believe that interaction through the Net will continue to prosper. It’s an extension of networking.” And, of course, from Black’s perspective, networking is paramount.
“With social media taking flight in the business world, connecting with new clients and learning from peers becomes much easier,” he says. “And I’m lucky to be operating my business in a province that is really on-board with emerging technologies.”
Black says running a business in Nova Scotia has some definite advantages. “One of my favourite parts of operating here is the reciprocal friendliness between competitors. We learn from each other and help each other out – it’s friendlier here than in the big, densely-populated cities that have more vendors than work,” he explains.
“My competitors are more like mentors than opponents,” adds Black. “And often, I’m able to collaborate with people in the industry – writers, designers, PR specialists – to deliver high-caliber pieces for large-scale projects.”
Though Black currently operates the business alone, he hopes to one day expand. “Sure, I’d like to employ some people,” he says matter-of-factly. But for now, producing quality results for clients and continuing to connect with his peers and potential clients is at the top of Richard Black’s priority list.
It’s a job he does well. Whether hosting breakfast networking opportunities through Dartnet, presenting on the latest design industry happenings, or meeting clients over coffee, he’s always staying connected.
Black writes a blog, too. And as it turns out (evidenced by blog posts and photos), he may have joked about bullying Sidney Crosby on his hometown schoolyard, but he really does know Olympic snowboarder Sarah Conrad, who he used to snowboard with behind Cole Harbour Place as a young man.
And that’s certainly not surprising for this well-connected social butterfly, for it’s this knack for relationship building and design work makes Rich Black the kind of guy he is.

#PodCampHfx 2010 – One Day of Social Media Paradise in Halifax, Nova Scotia

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On January 24th, Halifax held it’s second annual PodCamp festival at the Alderney Gate Library. It was a day filled with tweets, iPhones, Blackberries, and plenty of presentations involving social media, design and online video. Two words can effectively sum up the experience: information overload. This free event attracted 300 people interested in Social Media and the cream of the crop decided to present. PodCamp is known as an ‘un-conference’ – that is, it’s put on by the people for the people. All of the presenters are also attendees, and everything is free. It’s a great event, and I’d like to give a special nod to @RyanDeschamps and @SpiderVideo for investing their time, blood, sweat and tears into putting it on. Though it’s the participants that make it great, something of this magnitude wouldn’t get off the ground without a committed, enlightened core group. Hats off to you two, and everyone else working behind the scenes to make #PodCampHfx such a huge success.
If you keep up with the blog, you’ll remember I attended PodCamp last year as well, and had an amazing experience. This year, I decided to take it to the next level – and ran a workshop titled ‘Using, Branding and Integrating Social Media for Business.’The session ran 45 minutes, and I had a total of 110 slides. Most were hand-drawn, with a handful of screen-captures thrown in for good measure. My session was a rousing success, with a total of three dozen attendees. I consider myself honoured for the chance to present, and must admit I really enjoyed the experience. It was nice to give back to my peers, and to network with some of Halifax’s social media elite. I apparently have come a long way in a year…. I distinctly remember seeing a video of me asking a question at last year’s PodCamp, and my voice cracking like a pubescent teenager.
Some notable events include Giles Crouch’s presentation ‘The State of Social Media in Atlantic Canada’, lunch with the #halifaxchicks and @thecoolestcool, the keynote address with @mcleangreaves and the #BattleDecks challenge at the end of the day.
Giles represents Media Badger – a local Social Intelligence Agency. They have their own crawler, MediaSphere360, which collects useful social media data in our region and beyond. Giles was kind enough to share some data about Atlantic Canada and New England with the PodCampers, such as:
• From 2000 to 2008 the number of Maritimers online has risen from 40% – 84%
• 87% of these online users have broadband internet access
• 49% use social media daily
• 36% use social media to make purchase decisions
• 25% feel better about buying from organizations that use social media
• 40% don’t read magazines
• 20% don’t read the newspaper (me included – I use twitter and facebook instead)
• 15% don’t listen to the radio
• 67% watch tv and surf the internet at the same time
• 38% own more than one computer
• Facebook users average age went from 42 to 53 in the past year
• Myspace users are 16 years old, on average now
• LinkedIn users average age went from 47 to 55
• twitter uesrs are now on average 39 years old – up from 34 last year
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, folks! More information about Giles’ presentation can be found on his blog.
The keynote speaker this year was the infamous @mcleangreaves – who hails from Toronto, and is a legend in the digital, broadcast and print media industries. He seemed to have the inside scoop on all things tiwtter, facebook, and social media. From bold predictions of which tech giant was buying which Canadian start-up this year – to the insider track on Apple’s new iPad tablet computer (releasing tomorrow!) – McLean seemed to know it all!
PodCamp wrapped up with an event called ‘BattleDecks.’ And contrary to some guesses, it was not two DJs squaring off with beer involved somehow. #BattleDecks originated at the #SXSW festival in Austin, Texas. It pits several challenges against each other, vying for the title of Social Media Bullshit King… I assume. Each challenges has to talk to a dozen slide, for twenty second each, that they have never seen before. The also have to follow a general topic guideline, which consists of some current social media buzzword, for the most part. I can’t justify the hilarity that ensued in mere words, I’m afraid. Suffice to say, I had tears in my eyes for the duration of the event. A nod to @firecatkitty, @Prire, and @TheCoolestCool for their amazing skills of delivering maximum BS on-the-fly. Carmen Pirie was declared the winner, but I personally thought Ross Simmonds had it with his ‘Generation Y’ theme, and downhill spiral into sexual-innuendo at the end…
So, to wrap it all up, PodCamp Halifax was the place to be last Sunday. As I often say, “The Geeks will inherit the Earth.” – and we proved it and then some at PodCamp. The energy at the event was incredible, and everyone left a richer person. If you ever have the opportunity to attend one of these – take it! You’ll network with the best, and learn until your poor brain can’t take any more. Best day of 2010 so far for Rich Graphics and myself, hands down.

The CEED SEB Showcase

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I recently had the opportunity to set up a booth at the first-ever CEED SEB Showcase. I am an alumni of CEED (Centre for Entrepreneurship and Education) – and their SEB (Self-Employment Benefit) program. This two-hour networking event featured great food (catered by Culinary Inspirations), a dozen or so booths, and a graduation ceremony. My booth featured a laptop with my website, brochures, business cards and a prize draw. My colleague Kathy at Time On Task VA Services was also in attendance with a booth of similar caliber.
This was a great opportunity to market to people who are just starting their own business and established businesses who are growing. The experience of manning a booth was a new one for me and the venue was a great place to learn how! The crowd seemed forgiving when my ancient laptop overheated and shut down several times – and lessons like this were best learned at a small venue like this – before paying big bucks for a booth at some other venue in the city. This opportunity also motivated me to catchup on some personal business projects – new business cards, new brochures, and some website updating – that I’d been putting off in favour of billable-work for the last few months.
If you ever have the opportunity to put together a booth and show your product or service – be sure to take it! I’m glad I started small, and am now eager for the next opportunity. I’ve learned a few lessons, and have a few ideas to improve my presence next time. If you require any materials for your booth, don’t hesitate to contact us today. Rich Graphics specializes in printed material as well as cutting edge websites.

Vancouver 2010 Olympic Torch Relay

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The Olympic Flame passed through the Maritimes recently, and after seeing it in Halifax, I proceeded to follow it all the way to New Brunswick! I attend the ceremonies in Halifax and caught a glimpse of Sidney Crosby – and more importantly, Olympic snowboarder Sarah Conrad. My friends and I used to snowboard with Sarah – in the fall – behind Cole Harbour Place – on Zamboni snow. Her father was a big advocate for the sport even then, and built the first rails that Martock ever used, if memory serves me. Go Sarah!
The Halifax Ceremony featured music by Skratch Bastid and Classified, and tons of Coca-Cola and RBC memorabilia and exhibits. People were scrambling to get the limited edition cola bottles – especially the one that glows different colors. Gotta love corporate sponsorship – and Coke is certainly the king.
A week later, I found myself in the car headed to Moncton, New Brunswick to see the torch once more. Turns out my sister there was chosen as a torch-bearer – and all the family was converging on Moncton to show their support. So my lovely wife an I drove 600 km return to see Monica wield the flame or 10 minutes or so. Long drive, but certainly worth it to see this once-in-a-lifetime event.
Go Canada! Even though I won’t be at the Games on the other side of the continent, it was nice to experience a part of them at home.